published: 25.09.2012, 15:49 | updated: 25.09.2012 15:50:46
Prague - TOP 09 resolutely urged its senior partner in the Czech government, the Civic Democrats (ODS), to keep to the coalition agreement on the state budget and pension reform, otherwise the government would lose its raison d'etre, TOP 09 spokeswoman Alzbeta Plivova told CTK.
A government in which one of the parties is incapable of fulfilling its pledges would be unable to implement its policy statement and its existence would have no sense anymore, Plivova said on behalf of TOP 09.
The ODS of Prime Minister Petr Necas is tackling internal problems after six of its deputies recently sank the government's tax package, citing their disapproval of a planned VAT increase.
The government, which reckons with the package's effect in the 2013 budget bill drafted by the TOP 09-controlled Finance Ministry, has submitted the package to the Chamber of Deputies again in an unchanged wording and tied it with a confidence vote.
Necas made it clear that his government would end if the tax changes, including a one-percent increase in both VAT rates, failed in the upcoming series of votes in the Chamber of Deputies.
Necas and his negotiators are conducting talks with the ODS rebels about possible additional modifications of the package.
Petr Tluchor, one of the rebellious ODS deputies, said today he agreed that the government only makes sense if it fulfills its agreements and promises.
"However, the government agreed on its programme and promised to implement reforms, not to raise taxes," Tluchor told CTK, adding that his group did not want the end of the coalition government, but only the fulfilment of its promises.
"We have no problem with the pension reform as such, but we do not want it to be paid from constant tax increases," Tluchor said.
"We are behaving as independently thinking deputies. The fact that President Vaclav Klaus has recently sometimes voiced views similar to those held by us, is gratifying, but it does not mean anything," Tluchor added.
The situation has been complicated by President Vaclav Klaus's Monday veto of a key bill that was to enable the government to launch the pension reform as from 2013.
As an argument in support of his veto, Klaus gave the lacking consensus on the bill on the political scene as well as in society.
Like Klaus, the ODS rebels argued on Monday that the pension reform, which enables people to send a part of their pension insurance contributions to private accounts instead of the public pension system, cannot be financed from a tax increase.
Moreover, some ODS deputies in the past indicated that they would have problem voting against the position of Klaus, ODS founder and former long-standing chairman.
That is why it is uncertain whether the Chamber of Deputies will finally override Klaus's veto and definitively give the green light to the pension reform in the weeks to come.
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