Czech president unhappy with interim government deal

Other News Materials 1 April 2009 16:24 (UTC +04:00)

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who is to appoint country's next premier, showed displeasure Wednesday with a quick deal on interim government hammered out by rival parties, reported dpa .

"The president ... reminds everyone involved that he will negotiate with political parties about the government of the Czech Republic, not about 'a summer government'," Klaus' office said in a statement.

In a meeting late Tuesday, rival Czech parties agreed to jointly form an interim government that is likely to replace acting Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek's cabinet at the helm of the European Union.

The interim government of experts, which would not be led by Topolanek, is likely to take over in about a month and until a new government is sworn in as a result of early polls to be held in mid-October.

The deal between the three parties of Topolanek's outgoing coalition and chief opposition Social Democrats is seen as an effort to sidestep the president.

Topolanek indicated he prefers to make a deal with the Social Democrats, who ousted him from power over domestic squabbles, to a cabinet imposed on the country by Klaus, his bitter foe on the right.

Social Democratic leader Jiri Paroubek told Czech Television that his party and the three outgoing coalition partners - Topolanek's Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and the Greens - should agree on a new premier, an experienced non-partisan, by the week's end.

Showing displeasure with the deal that bypasses him, Klaus said in the statement that he "is surprised" to have learnt from the press that the parties were already picking candidates for their cabinet.

It is unclear whether Klaus would try to obstruct the interim cabinet deal, for example by delaying premier's appointment. The president has no deadline to do so.

However, Klaus said earlier that he prefers a quick deal and would appoint whomever secures an absolute majority of 101 votes in the 200-seat lower house of parliament, a condition that required a seemingly impossible deal between political rivals Topolanek and Paroubek.

Topolanek's centre-right government has ruled in a caretaker role since stepping down on March 26, following the loss of a vote of no- confidence two days earlier.

The political crisis has complicated the Czech Republic's EU presidency that ends on June 30 and has sparked worries that the 27- member bloc's proposed reform pact, the Lisbon Treaty, could be under a threat.

The regular general elections were planned for mid-2010.