The Czech government of PM Stanislav Gross survived its vote of no confidence today thanks to the tacit support of the unreformed Communists, whose 44 members abstained from voting, leaving the opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) and Christian Democrats (KDU-ÄŒSL) without enough votes to bring it down.

While pronouncements early in the day predicted that a minority government led by Gross would continue, Czech President Václav Klaus issued the following proclamation saying he’d require Gross to submit his new cabinet to a confidence vote. The translation is mine:

Position of the President of the Czech Republic after the vote of no confidence in the government on 1 April 2005

The result of the vote of no confidence in the government, as well as today’s dramatic discussion in the Chamber of Deputies, are only additional phases in the current government crisis, not its conclusion. This is why I perceive the appearances of individual party leaders and the vote not as a solution to the now three-month-old crisis situation, but as its further sharpening.

I expected that today – regardless of how the vote of no confidence ended – I would begin meetings with political parties, but after today’s appearances by their representatives on the Parliament floor, I think I can say that not only I now know their opinions and positions, but the entire Czech public as well.

I do not consider today’s Parliament vote as a replacement for the 101 signatures I used as the basis for entrusting Stanislav Gross with forming a government last year, nor is it – an absolute necessity in the new situation – a confirmation of a majority mandate for the dissolution of Gross’ weakened government.

I announce in this way, that before I accept the resignation and eventual naming of new ministers, I call on the Prime Minister to publicly promise that he will appear with a new, reformed government before Parliament with a request for confidence and with that, a confirmation of their mandate.

Gross, however, had a different opinion, and said Klaus had overstepped his constitutional powers.

If Gross decides to really press his case and takes it to the Constitutional Court, it could be 2017 before the case is decided…

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