Search

 

Cablegate: Czech Politics: Topolanek in, but Paroubek Still

VZCZCXRO4525
OO RUEHAST
DE RUEHPG #0988 2301425
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 181425Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7823
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS PRAGUE 000988

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EZ
SUBJECT: CZECH POLITICS: TOPOLANEK IN, BUT PAROUBEK STILL
IN TOO

REF: PRAGUE 964

1. (U) On Aug 16, Czech PM Jiri Paroubek formally presented
his resignation to President Klaus, nearly ten weeks after
deadlocked national elections and days after a compromise on
Speaker of the Parliament broke the political logjam
(reftel). In a carefully orchestrated sequence, Klaus
accepted the resignation of Paroubek and his cabinet, but
asked them to remain in power until the new government was
ready to be appointed. One hour later, Klaus received Mirek
Topolanek and appointed him Prime Minister and charged him
with putting together a cabinet as swiftly as possible.
Thus, the Czech Republic now formally has two Prime
Ministers.

2. (U) This brief drama at the Prague Castle leaves us
essentially where we have been for weeks: Paroubek and his
ministers continue to run the government with no date certain
for their actual departure from office, and Topolanek
continues his months-long struggle to put together a
government that can win a vote of confidence in the divided
lower chamber. The only difference is that Topolanek now has
a government-provided office and bodyguards.

3. (SBU) Making clear that he has the upper hand in the
negotiations between the two largest parties, Paroubek
promptly left Prague on Aug 17 for a brief vacation,
declaring that he and Topolanek would meet again on Monday,
Aug 21. During his ceremony at the Castle, Topolanek told
the press that he expected to have a suitable cabinet
together within a few weeks. The President then found it
necessary to use his remarks to urge Topolanek to make this
period as short as possible. Topolanek has since said that
he expects to have a suitable team ready next week. Indeed,
Paroubek has spoken up from his vacation to say that he wants
Topolanek to take over next week. This pressure has led some
to suspect that neither Paroubek nor Klaus truly want
Topolanek to put together a cabinet and program that will be
able to win a vote of confidence.

4. (U) The thirty-day clock for Topolanek to ask for a vote
of confidence does not begin ticking until the President
formally appoints his full government. Thus it may well be
late September before this vote takes place. If the vote
fails, as is possible, the process begins again (with
Topolanek and his cabinet remaining in charge). Looming Oct
20-21 are municipal and Senate elections. In short, the fall
will remain highly politicized.

5. (U) This is not the first time that the country has had
two prime ministers. Then-President Havel did the same thing
when replacing then-PM Klaus's government in 1998. And
President Klaus appointed Stanislav Gross to replace Vladimir
Spidla in 2004 before the former had put together a cabinet.
Several observers have noted that this constitutional oddity
is a potential source of trouble (for instance a signature by
one or the other on a sensitive document could be called into
question), but like most other weighty topics during this
late-summer "cucumber season," few Czechs are paying
attention.

6. (U) Septel will discuss the obstacles facing PM Topolanek
as he works to put together a lasting government, as well as
implications for the U.S.
CABANISS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Strongly Condemns Knife Attack Inside Nice Church Which Left Three Dead

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday strongly condemned a knife attack inside a French church in the southern French city of Nice, which reportedly left three worshippers dead. In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres extended his ... More>>

ALRANZ: Denounces US Senate Confirmation Of Judge Barrett

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa denounces the US Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “This action demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of the once-respected upper chamber ... More>>

UN News: Millions Affected As Devastating Typhoon Strikes Viet Nam

A major typhoon has struck central Viet Nam, affecting millions of people – including about 2.5 million children – in a region already reeling from the effects of severe floods, according to UN agencies in the country. There are also reports that 174 ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>