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Government Wins Confidence Vote

The new Czech coalition government under Premier Stanislav Gross (Social Democrat, CSSD) won a vote of confidence in parliament on Tuesday and will now begin the work of running the country.

Members of the three parties making up the coalition – the CSSD, the Freedom Union, and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) – pulled together to win the vote by means of a one-vote majority enjoys in the 200-seat lower house of parliament.

Opposition MP’s – from the Civic Democrats (ODS) and the Communists (KSCM) – said afterward they’d expected the government to win on the basis of its 101-seat majority.

Following the vote, which was held late Tuesday night, Gross thanked his deputies and vowed his government would work with the opposition, saying all MP’s have a “responsibility” to work for the state.

Former premier Vladimir Spidla said he “enthusiastically” supported the new government’s policy statement.

Similarly, Freedom Union head Pavel Nemec said the government would accomplish everything it has promised over the next two years.

Vlastimil Tlusty, head of the ODS deputies group, told reporters the result of the vote was “clear beforehand.” Parliament will next meet in September.

The formation of a new government became necessary after the CSSD, the senior party in the ruling coalition, performed poorly in June European Parliament (EP) elections and leader Vladimir Spidla stepped down, saying he felt he’d lost the confidence of his party. Gross was tapped as the new premier in July and reformed the same coalition. The government has two years left in its mandate.

(Interfax 30.viii.04)

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