published: 05.09.2012, 10:01 | updated: 05.09.2012 11:24:19
Prague - The leadership of the Czech ruling Civic Democratic Party (ODS) today did not persuade opponents of changes to taxes in the party to vote for the crucial legislation, Petr Tluchor, one of the ODS rebels, has told journalists after a meeting of the ODS deputies' group.
The government of Prime Minister Petr Necas (ODS) may become the first to link confidence in it with a specific bill.
The three-party coalition government has proposed a number of austerity measures in order to lower the budget deficit, including a rise in VAT, which is opposed by President Vaclav Klaus and the ODS rebels who insist on orthodox right-wing policy of low taxes.
Due to the disunity inside the coalition government, the Chamber of Deputies withdrew the state-church property settlement from the agenda of the Chamber of Deputies today.
"We will not vote on it as there is the rule in the coalition: either everything is passed or not, with only a small exaggeration," head of the ODS deputies' group Zbynek Stanjura said.
"As there is no consensus on the financial package, the vote on return of property to churches will be adjourned, too," he added.
After the rebellion in the ODS, the junior coalition member LIDEM is reportedly reluctant to back the church-state property deal.
LIDEM deputies are of the view that the stabilisation package is necessary to fund the property settlement.
As a result, the settlement will have to wait until the changes in the tax legislation are placed on the parliamentary agenda again.
Some six ODS deputies are against the tax changes. Four of them have confirmed that they will not back the bills in the Chamber of Deputies today. They demand changes to them.
Necas and Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) have made it clear that they will submit again the stabilisation package in its current form and link it with a confidence vote.
"We will insist on regular deliberations in three readings and we will seek changes," Tluchor said, adding that he hoped that an agreement would be reached on some modifications that would push the bill "within sensible bounds."
Tluchor declined to say whether he would deny support to the bill with which the government would link confidence, if the coalition did not meet the rebels' demands.
Tluchor repeated that he did not want the government's fall and that he believed in the "victory of common sense."
One of the ODS rebels, deputy Tomas Ulehla, said he did not believe Necas would be ready to "risk the fall of the government" only for the sake of higher VAT.
"I think that this would be very irresponsible," Ulehla said.
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