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Cablegate: New Czech Pm Paroubek Survives Vote of Confidence,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) The government crisis that began in January with a
questions about the source of funds used by then PM Stanislav
Gross (CSSD) to acquire his apartment, came to a formal end
on May 13 when the government of his successor, Jiri Paroubek
(CSSD), was approved by the lower house of parliament. The
party-line vote in the 200 seat chamber was 101 for, 99
against. The three parties in the coalition voted in favor of
the government. The two parties in the opposition, the Civic
Democrats (ODS) and the communists (KSCM), voted against it.

2. (U) This is the third government since the general
election in 2002. The other two governments were made up of
the same three parties in Paroubek's coalition: the Social
Democrats (CSSD), Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), and the
Freedom Union (US-DEU). Paroubek's cabinet is also similar
to that of his predecessor. Only 4 of the 18 ministries
changed hands. Minister of Defense Karel Kuhnl (US-DEU) and
Minister of Foreign Affairs Cyril Svoboda (KDU-CSL) have
retained their positions.

3. (U) In a speech just before the vote of confidence, ODS
Deputy Chair Vlastimil Tlusty offered to work with Paroubek's
government on certain issues, including passage of bankruptcy
reform, conflict of interest legislation, and other
pro-business reforms. In the past ODS has had a public
policy of not cooperating with CSSD.

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4. (SBU) The next general election will be held in June 2006.
Paroubek and his new government have about 100 days before
full-time campaigning begins and it becomes almost impossible
to pass politically sensitive measures. According to Gross's
former economic advisor, Jan Mladek, Paroubek is expected to
try and revive his party's sagging popularity, particularly
with left-of-center voters, by trying to reduce taxes on
Czechs with low income, by spending government funds
upgrading housing estates, and by supporting loans to

5. (SBU) Paroubek's aides do not expect him to get very
involved in foreign relations. However, two of Paroubek's
party members, former FM Jan Kavan and head of parliament's
Foreign Affairs Committee, Vladimir Lastuvka, made their
support during the vote contingent on the appointment of a
CSSD member as principal Deputy Foreign Minister. The
replacement for the current Deputy Foreign Minister, Jan
Winkler, who is expected to take up the position of Czech
Ambassador to the UK this summer, could be Jaroslav Basta,
who is the Czech Ambassador in Moscow. Kavan and Lastuvka
made the demand in order to increase CSSD influence in the
MFA, and to counteract what they perceive as an excessively
pro-American stance by Foreign Minister Svoboda.

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