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Czech Parliament Delivers Confidence Vote For Klaus Government

Prague, July 25 (RFE/RL) -- The Czech parliament today gave the center-right cabinet of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus a vote of confidence following a three-day acrimonious debate on the government's policy program.

Just prior to the roll-call confidence vote, all the opposition Social Democratic (CSSD) deputies walked out of the 200-seat chamber. Their action ensured the cabinet would survive the vote, which requires a simple majority of votes of those deputies present. The vote was 98 in favor and 40 opposed.

Stanislav Gross, the Social Democratic parliamentary faction leader, told deputies in advance that for the time being his party is willing to tolerate Klaus' cabinet in the interest of social stability and the need for constitutional organs, including the government, to function. But, he added, this government does not have the Social Democrats' trust.

President Vaclav Havel warned last week against boycotting the confidence vote, saying it would be neither a good start nor a firm foundation for the new cabinet. Following today's vote, Havel sent a brief note of congratulations to Klaus and a message to Zeman, saying he believes this government will be stable and will cooperate well with parliament.