Czech President Meets With Parties Before Setting Election Date

Czech President Milos Zeman is meeting party leaders in Prague Castle as he prepares to dissolve parliament and call early elections that could end months of political gridlock.

Zeman said last week he would call a snap poll for Oct. 25-26 after lawmakers voted against an interim cabinet he picked to replace Prime Minister Petr Necas’s pro-austerity government. Necas was toppled in June by an illegal spying and graft scandal. Parliament voted to dissolve itself on Aug. 20.

“I will tell my decision to the leaders of parliamentary parties and ask their opinion, but I think that they will probably not have any significant objections,” Zeman told news website yesterday.

The former opposition Social Democrats, who have a big lead in opinion polls, say they will increase spending to ensure the $136 billion economy does not repeat the record-long recession it emerged from in the second quarter. Their support fell to 21 percent this month, compared with 29 percent in June, according to results from a PPM Factum poll released on Aug. 19.

The pro-austerity TOP09 party was in second place with 10 percent. The Communists, boosted by voter frustration at the former governnment’s focus on cutting the budget deficit, fell to third place with 9 percent, from 16 percent in June.

Necas’s Civic Democrats and their ruling partners TOP09 were in fourth place with 6 percent., according to the poll conducted among 1,002 respondents from Aug. 12-16. A margin of error was not provided.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Winfrey in Prague at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at

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