The opposition Civic Democratic Party has called on Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek to resign from office and open the way for early elections to be held before the end of the year. The move came shortly after the Prime Minister accused the Christian Democrats of the governing coalition of playing ball with the leading right wing opposition party and said that he was ready to agree to early elections if the two parties initiated them. He likewise indicated that the Christian Democrats were free to leave the coalition government.
The crisis between the coalition parties escalated after the coalition Christian Democrats broke ranks to vote with the leading opposition party in support of establishing a parliamentary commission to inquire into suspected corruption during the privatization of the petrochemical group Unipetrol.
In response to the call for his resignation, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said that while he was ready to hold talks on an early election term he would not play by the Civic Democratic Party's scenario. The Civic Democrat's plan envisaged the Prime Minister resigning on Monday, then being asked to form a government three times and each time failing to win a vote of confidence in the Lower House. This would enable President Klaus to call early elections within 60 days. The Prime Minister said that he would accept the challenge of early elections only if they were called by the Civic Democrats and the Christian Democratic Party.
The Freedom Union, the smallest party in the coalition government, said the Civic Democratic Party's scenario was a farce that showed little respect for the Constitution and the role of the president. The opposition Communist Party has expressed a similar view.
General practitioners will hold a one day strike on Thursday, October 6th in protest against the poor payment morale of health insurance companies. The General Practitioners Association will make known its demands to the Prime Minister within the next few days. Private physicians have long called for changes in the system of financing, saying that long delays in payments are threatening their livelihood. The Prime Minister has called a meeting with health insurance companies and Health Minister Milada Emmerova for Monday.
Monday is expected to be sunny to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.
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