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Czech parliament rejects missile shield referendum
October 26, 2007 / 1:02 PM / 10 years ago

Czech parliament rejects missile shield referendum

<p>(L-R) U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Czech Republic's Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova and Norway's Defence Minister Anne-Grete Strom-Erichsen meet at the start of a NATO defence ministers meeting in Noordwijk October 24, 2007. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters</p>

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech lower house of parliament rejected on Friday a leftist opposition proposal to hold a national referendum on hosting a part of a U.S. missile defense shield.

The United States plans to build a radar station in the Czech Republic and an interceptor missile base in Poland as a part of a system aimed at shooting down missiles from “rogue states” such and Iran.

The plan has sparked a row with Russia, which sees it as a threat to its own security.

The plan has also angered the Czech leftist opposition Social Democrats and the Communists, who have demanded that the public, mostly opposed to the plan, has a say.

But the move by several Communist and Socialist deputies was rejected on Friday, in line with expectations.

The law needed 120 votes in the 200-seat chamber, but won only 76 among the 144 present.

The centre-right government, which has 100 seats in the lower house, plans to complete talks with the United States early next year and ratify the agreement in parliament.

The junior coalition partner, the Greens, have voiced doubts about the plan, and their support is uncertain. The government hopes to win some opposition deputies to vote for the base.

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