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Czech leader suffers no-confidence vote

March 25, 2009 at 9:16 AM   |   Comments

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, March 25 (UPI) -- Czech Republic Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek lost a no-confidence vote, prompting the besieged leader to say he would resign.

Topolanek, leader of a tenuous right-center coalition and the European Union president, announced his intent Tuesday after the motion passed 101-96 in the lower chamber of parliament, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

"This is a humiliation for the government that will now be hijacked by internal political infighting," said Tomas Sedlacek, an economist and adviser to former President Vaclav Havel. "What kind of respect can the president of the EU have in the eyes of the world when it is led by someone who is politically dead, who is a political zombie?"

Analysts said Topolanek and his top ministers likely could stay until President Vaclav Klaus appoints a new prime minister who can garner support of a majority in parliament, the Times said.

"I believe it can complicate our negotiating power," Topolanek said of the no-confidence vote's effect on his EU post. "Partners in Europe have grown used to us negotiating hard."

Jiri Paroubek, the Social Democratic leader who called the vote, said he preferred the cabinet to remain in place until June to avoid disrupting the team running the EU presidency.

The European Union presidency rotates among its members.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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