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New cabinet under Rusnok loses confidence vote in Czech Republic

The political crisis in the Czech Republic has shown no signs of ending after a parliamentary vote in which the newly appointed prime minister failed to win enough support. Early elections could now be on the horizon.

Czech Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok's cabinet failed on Wednesday to secure a majority of votes during a parliamentary vote of confidence.

Only 93 of the 193 lawmakers supported Rusnok. The vote was close, however, with 100 voting against and seven being absent. The balloting results reflect the fact that no grouping commands a clear majority in parliament.

The results mean parties are more likely to agree on the parliament’s dissolution and the need for launching a new election before the end of the year.

Czech President Milos Zeman had appointed the country’s new cabinet in July after the June collapse of the center-right coalition government Prime Minister Petr Necas. Necas was accused of corruption and marital infidelity.

However, when left-leaning Zeman appointed Rusnok - one of his political allies- he unleashed a torrent of anger from the center-right coalition. They accused Zeman of making a bid to consolidate power.

A vote of confidence had been automatically scheduled to take place within 30 days of Rusnok’s appointment.

Parliament must now discuss early elections as a possible solution.

tm/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)