published: 31.10.2012, 19:59 | updated: 31.10.2012 20:01:50
Prague - The weekend election congress of the Czech senior ruling Civic Democrats (ODS) will probably see a stormy debate about the party´s future and also changes in the posts of ODS deputy chairpersons, but it is unlikely to solve the problems faced by the cabinet of ODS chairman Petr Necas.
The congress probably will not meet Necas´s expectation that it will determine the way his government and also the ODS will continue.
According to present information, Necas, though considerably weakened, will probably be re-elected ODS chairman, but he is not sure of it.
Petr Tluchor, informal leader of six ODS rebellious deputies, confirmed for CTK today that even if the congress passed a resolution in support of the government´s draft tax package, the rebels would still demand changes to the controversial package that the government has linked to a confidence vote in parliament.
"A new ODS congress may take place in December. If the tax package failed [to be passed by the Chamber of Deputies] and if the cabinet fell, we´d have to meet again to decide whether to offer another candidate for the prime minister or whether we will nod to early elections," one of the rebel MPs said off the record.
One of the rebels, Radim Fiala, withdrew from the ODS and its deputies´ group on Tuesday, leaving the coalition government with only 99 deputies, including five ODS rebels, in the 200-seat lower house of parliament.
Whatever the congress results, even afterwards Necas probably will not be in control of the five rebels´ votes in a situation where the government needs 101 votes for the lower house to override the left-dominated Senate´s veto and pass the tax package.
Tluchor today said the rebels will "think about" the congress´ final resolution, which, nevertheless, would not discourage them from voting against the package including tax increases.
At the congress, Necas will probably be the only serious candidate for the post of ODS chairman. Only the Thursday meetings of the ODS regional branches will show how many regions support his candidacy.
ODS members addressed by CTK today said they reckon with Necas´s probable re-election.
Necas´s advantage is that he may win support of those delegates who consider the rebels´ behaviour political blackmail and a personal attack on Necas.
Moreover, Necas may say his continuation at the helm of both the ODS and the cabinet prevents the leftist opposition´s arrival in power.
Necas´s position in the ODS is very shaky, however, even though he has no strong rival running for chairmanship.
In early 2010, when he was elected party head, Necas offered forming an ODS-led cabinet and cleaning the ODS of corruption scandals. At present he can hardly offer any way out of the situation where his cabinet is no longer capable of pushing its plans through parliament and the ODS suffered a debacle in the recent regional and Senate elections.
Necas´s opponents count that he need not be re-elected party chairman in the first round of the election. If so, some rivals may appear and challenge him.
"I will not be running against Petr Necas. For now I don´t know what will happen next," ODS deputy chairman Jiri Pospisil, whom Necas sacked as justice minister this summer and who was the only ODS leader who succeeded in the mid-October regional polls, told CTK today.
At its congress, the ODS will solve the dilemma of whether to try to keep the right wing in power with Necas as prime minister or whether to let the Necas´s government fall.
"In my opinion, we´ve reached a point where it must be admitted that this story is over," an influential ODS member, so far an advocate of Necas, told CTK today.
He said the ODS cannot try to save the government by seeking the votes of selected opposition Public Affairs (VV) deputies. The ODS would pay an excessive political tax for this, because it previously fell out with the VV and it could hardly lean its government on VV MPs now, the ODS member said.
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