Topolanek open to opposition on interim govt until early polls
The outgoing Czech premier said Sunday he is open to a deal with political rivals on an interim government, possibly led by someone else, that would bring the Czech Republic to early elections in the autumn, dpa reported.
"A deal will be needed for us to form a government, attended by whomever, led by whomever. That is what I will prefer," he said in a Czech Television interview.
He also said he would not insist on heading such a temporary government. "It is not a necessary condition," he said.
Topolanek's centre-right three-party government, which chairs the European Union presidency until June 30, resigned on Thursday following a lost vote of no-confidence in parliament.
His cabinet stays in as a caretaker until a new cabinet is sworn in.
The latest statements amounted to a tactical concession on Topolanek's part as the outgoing premier has preferred to head the country until the early polls.
The acting premier appeared to prefer making a deal with his bitter rivals who initiated the confidence motion, the Social Democrats, to a new cabinet formed "from above" by President Vaclav Klaus.
Klaus, Topolanek's enemy on the right who gets to appoint the next premier, appeared to favour rushing Topolanek out of office.
An outspoken EU critic, Klaus said he prefers a quick, lasting solution to retaining Topolanek just for the sake of the Czech EU presidency.
The relations between the outgoing premier and the president, whom he helped to re-elect in February 2008, have reached new lows since the cabinet collapsed after the failed confidence test on Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Topolanek and Klaus traded accusations in the Czech press. Topolanek once again blamed Klaus for his government's fall, a claim the president rejected as "a lie."
Analysts however agreed that Topolanek's demise serves the president's interests. While Topolanek has reluctantly backed the EU's Lisbon reform treaty as a needed compromise, Klaus rejects the pact as a bad deal for small EU members.
Topolanek warned that if he loses control of his Civic Democratic Party, which is split over the accord, the ratification process may run aground in Czech parliament's upper house.
The Czech Republic is not the last member state to complete its ratification of the pact.
The accord, which would streamline decision-making in the union if adopted by all 27 members, awaits a fresh October referendum in Ireland, whose voters rejected it in June 2008.
The rivalry with Klaus may unite Topolanek with his enemy on the left, Social Democratic leader Jiri Paroubek, analysts said.
Topolanek and Paroubek, who are known to detest each other, met in person on Friday, agreeing to hold early elections in the autumn.
But in a sign that they are far from completely making up before the polls, the two rival leaders disagreed on timing. While Topolanek prefers the polls in September, Paroubek favours October.