>Czech politics: Christian Democrat leader ousted, government talks back to square one (again)

>The prospect of a Social Democrat – Christian Democrat minority government backed by the Communists, as expected, has proved a (less than) 24 hour wonder. The volte face by Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek, who led the party into the June election as a probable partner in a centre-right coalition with the usual lading of anti-communist rhetoric and warnings of the dire consequences Social Democrat-Christian Democrat collaboration, provoked a wave of protest among Christian Democrat regional leaders. Kalousek, previously known as a tough and realistic operator who displaced Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda partly because he was too close to the centre-left, fell on his sword and resigned. This was followed a couple of days later by the party’s deputy leaders (including Svoboda) in a clearing-of-the-decks exercise. The natural predominance in Czech politics of historic parties with social market visions, which should logically corral (neo-)liberal forces into a bloc of around a third of the electorate, has thus once failed to operate – due largely to Kalousek’s ill thought out move, which appeared (as it was probably was) a thinly disguised attempt to hang onto to power. Now for the first time in quite a few years a figure from the party’s Catholic Moravian heartland – probably the governor of the South Moravia regional government seems likely to take over- question marks hang over the party’s future direction but a radical opening to the Czech secular majority does not seem on the cards.

Meanwhile, although a minority ODS government faces a confidence vote on Friday, no deals seem to have been done and we are back at square one as far as forming a government is concerned.

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