The Czech Republic has announced the dates for its snap election. Lawmakers voted Tuesday to dissolve parliament after a crisis over a bribery and spying scandal that brought down the prime minister in June.
President Milos Zeman said he would dissolve the lower house on Wednesday and call elections for October 25-26. The announcement came three days after lawmakers approved the early ballot as a way out of the political crisis triggered by the collapse of the country's right-wing coalition government.
The government of Civic Democrat Petr Necas fell in June amid a whirlwind of allegations about corruption and marital infidelity involving the prime minister's top aide and lover. A technocrat government led by the economist Jiri Rusnok had run the country since the toppling of the Necas administration, but it lost a confidence vote earlier this month.
Parliament's lower house dominates the legislative process, and the leader of its strongest party would generally get the first try when forming a new government. Should poll numbers bear out, the opposition Social Democrats would likely emerge as the strongest party after the vote, held seven months ahead of schedule.
Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka told the news agency Reuters this week that his party could rule in a minority government, supported by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia or other factions in parliament. That would represent the first time since the 1989 Velvet Revolution that the Communists, albeit watered down from party that ruled the country for four decades, could have a direct impact on government policies.
mkg/dr (Reuters, AFP, AP)