UPDATE 1-Czech president to dissolve parliament on Aug. 28 to trigger snap election

Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:23am EDT

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* Early election expected to be called for Oct. 25 and 26

* New government likely to be led by leftist Social Democrats

PRAGUE Aug 22 (Reuters) - Czech President Milos Zeman will formally dissolve the lower house of parliament on Aug. 28, his spokeswoman said on Thursday, setting the stage for an early election that could hand power to a leftist, pro-European government.

The election is expected to be called for Oct. 25 and 26. Zeman will announce the election date at a news conference on Friday, his spokeswoman Hana Burianova said.

The parliament voted on Tuesday to disband and the president must call an early election within 60 days of the formal dissolution.

Political turmoil has crippled policy-making since June when the centre-right cabinet of Prime Minister Petr Necas collapsed amid a corruption and spying scandal.

Opinion polls show that the centre-left, pro-European Social Democrats will be the biggest party in the new parliament, whose policies include a plan to tax power utilities, telecoms and banks and increase taxes for high earners while boosting investment in infrastructure, housing and ecological projects.

Their leader told Reuters this week the Social Democrats could rule in a single-party minority government, supported by the Communist Party or other, smaller parties in parliament.

It would be the first time since the 1989 Velvet Revolution that the Communist party, the largely unreformed heirs of the totalitarian rulers under the Soviet bloc, could have a direct impact on government policies.

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