Czech president Milos Zeman’s nomination of long-time ally Jiri Rusnok as prime minister-designate has been opposed by the largest parties in the country’s parliament, local media reported.
The nomination comes a week after Petr Necas resigned in the wake of a corruption row that saw seven people, including Necas’s chief of staff, Jana Nagyova, indicted on charges ranging from abuse of power to bribery and money laundering.
The parties in the centre-right coalition that backed Necas’s government have already said that they would oppose Rusnok’s nomination and would call for a vote of no confidence as soon as possible, Radio Prague reported.
The coalition was backing a return of Necas’s cabinet, headed by Civic Democrat speaker of parliament Miroslava Nemcova as prime minister. The coalition says that such a nomination had the necessary support to win a vote of investiture in parliament, Radio Prague said.
Opposition Social-Democrats, who have called for snap elections in the wake of Necas’s resignation, did not believe a Rusnok administration was viable, news agency CTK reported, quoting Social-Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka.
Instead of an “expert” cabinet, as advertised, Rusnok would be forming a government of Zeman’s own Party of Citizens’ Rights, to lift its profile ahead of elections, Sobotka said. His party would table a motion to disband parliament so that early elections could be held as early as September, he said.
Even if Rusnok failed to win parliament support, Zeman could choose to appoint Rusnok as caretaker prime minister, who would govern until the parliamentary elections due in mid-2014, according to commentary pieces in local media. The only way to prevent such an outcome was for parliament to trigger snap elections by disbanding itself, the reports said.
Rusnok served as finance minister when Zeman was prime minister in 2001/02 and then as industry and trade minister in the Vladimir Spidla cabinet in 2002/03. He worked in the private sector afterwards and became Zeman’s economic adviser when Zeman was elected president.
(Parliament speaker Miroslava Nemcova and Czech president Milos Zeman. Photo: David Sedlecký/Wikimedia Commons)