Czech cabinet resigns after political deadlock

Tuesday 13 August 2013 17.03
President Milos Zeman and Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok toast Mr Rusnok's appointment in June
President Milos Zeman and Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok toast Mr Rusnok's appointment in June

The Czech cabinet has resigned after losing a confidence vote last week, clearing the way for early elections that could resolve a political deadlock.

The main political parties have been locked in battle with President Milos Zeman since June when he named a close ally, Jiri Rusnok, to head a new cabinet against their wishes.

The resigned cabinet was dominated by allies of the leftist Mr Zeman.

Mr Rusnok was appointed after the previous centre-right government collapsed under the weight of a spying and bribery scandal.

Mr Zeman accepted the resignation and said Mr Rusnok, an economist, would stay on in a caretaker capacity "until the formation of a new government which I hope will come from a free election".

Leftist parties stand the best chance of winning an early election, according to opinion polls, a result that could return the Social Democrats to power for the first time since 2006.

The lower house will meet on 20 August and is expected to vote on a motion to dissolve parliament.

Mr Zeman will then be expected to dissolve the house within a few days and call a new election within 60 days, possibly in mid- to late-October.