Nedeľa, 25. október, 2020 | Meniny má AurelKrížovkyKrížovky

Klaus seeks Party Post, New Poll More Likely

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Václav Klaus, ousted as Czech Prime Minister in a party funding row last week, said on Wednesday he would definitely seek re-election as his party's chairman, making fresh general elections more likely. Klaus, who has said he will ...

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Václav Klaus, ousted as Czech Prime Minister in a party funding row last week, said on Wednesday he would definitely seek re-election as his party's chairman, making fresh general elections more likely. Klaus, who has said he will not be part of a new cabinet, raised the stakes in his fight for control of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) he founded, setting up a showdown in an extraordinary party congress on December 13. With strong support outside ODS's central leadership, Klaus is likely to win re-election, creating a split in the ODS and an impasse in the centre-right ruling coalition, which President Václav Havel has asked to form a new government. ODS, the largest party in parliament, is unlikely to back any government not led by one of its members. Klaus, who resigned as the longest-serving premier in post-Communist Europe early on Sunday after several ODS leaders abandoned him in a row over donations to the party, said his candidacy was a "test" of support in the party rank-and-file. "Without that test I would disappoint tens of thousands of people," Klaus, who is to remain in office in a caretaker role until a new cabinet is named, told a news conference. The Czech crown stabilised on the news, after losing about 0.5 of a crown to the mark in Monday trading after the weekend collapse of the government. It firmed to 19.74 to the mark after 19.82 earlier. Analysts said Klaus's confirmation that he would run took some uncertainty out of the situation and strongly signalled that new polls were likely, probably in the spring of 1998. New elections would probably mean the centre-left Social Democrats (CSSD), the largest opposition party which has comfortably topped ODS in recent opinion polls, leading a cabinet. Analysts expect CSSD chairman Miloš Zeman, a left-leaning economist who says his party is a "standard Western European Social Democratic party", would form a coalition after fresh elections with the centrist Christian Democrats. Klaus said on Wednesday his government's plans to privatise the large state-controlled banks, long seen by economists as vital to the transformation of the Czech economy, would continue, but may be scuttled by a new cabinet. Zeman has said he wants to privatise the banks, but has objected to the Klaus government's plan to sell large controlling stakes to foreign investors. The lower house of parliament, which has no power in privatisation decisions, approved a resolution on Wednesday calling on the government to stop its bank sell-off plans until a new government is named.

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