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Czech Prime Minister resigns

Posted by Helen Sunday, June 27, 2004

Unlike his colleague in Poland, prime minister Belka, Vladimir Spidla, has decided to bite the bullet, after a vote of confidence in the Social-Democratic Party.

He did win the vote by the narrowest of margins but 100 people voted against him. This was six short of the necessary expression of no confidence but was high enough for Spidla to decide to resign as both Prime Minister and Leader of the Social-Democratic Party.

The vote was occasioned by the spectacular defeat inflicted on the Social-Democrats in the European elections, when they managed to get 2 seats out of 24. The undisputed winner in that election was Vaclav Klaus's mildly eurosceptic ODS.

Mr Spidla's government was an uneasy coalition of Social-Democrats, Christian Democrats and Liberals. President Klaus has already announced that he is flying back from the NATO summit in Istanbul early, to deal with the growing crisis.

Who in the new member states will have serious political problems next?