Czech government to call early election

Polls show centre-left Social Democrats will be biggest party

Czech lawmakers leave the parliamentary chamber in Prague after the Czech parliament dissolved itself today. Photograph: Petr Josek/Reuters

Czech lawmakers leave the parliamentary chamber in Prague after the Czech parliament dissolved itself today. Photograph: Petr Josek/Reuters

Tue, Aug 20, 2013, 21:25

The Czech parliament voted yesterday to dissolve itself, triggering an early election which could hand the Communist Party a share in power for the first time since a bloodless revolution ended the party’s totalitarian rule two decades ago.

Opinion polls show the centre-left Social Democrats will be the biggest party, but they will need support from other groups to govern and the leader of the party said he would talk to the Communists about forming a partnership.

In the eyes of many people in this country of 10 million people, the Communists are linked with 41 years of repression. But by being out of power for so long, the party has escaped the taint of sleaze and corruption that has attached to the governments in office since the end of Communist rule.

Yesterday’s vote to dissolve parliament came about after the previous elected government folded under charges from prosecutors that an aide to the prime minister, who was also his lover, had his wife put under surveillance.

The dissolution was supported by 140 members of the 200-seat lower house of parliament. The president, Milos Zeman, must now schedule an election, likely to be at the end of October. -(Reuters)