March 22, 2009 / 4:03 PM / 10 years ago

Czech government MP will push to topple government on Tues

PRAGUE (Reuters) - A Czech ruling party deputy piled pressure onto the minority government on Sunday when he said he would try to get two party defectors to vote with the opposition to oust the center-right administration, spelling trouble for Prague’s current EU presidency.

Should Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek’s government fall after a no confidence vote on Tuesday it would also threaten Czech ratification of the bloc’s Lisbon treaty.

The government, led by Topolanek’s Civic Democrats, has 96 deputies in parliament’s 200-seat lower house, versus the opposition’s 97 votes. The remaining seven MPs are non-aligned defectors from the main parties.

Analysts have said the opposition Social Democrats have their best chance to bring down Topolanek in Tuesday’s vote, half way through Prague’s EU presidency. The Social Democrats have failed four times in the past to topple Topolanek’s administration which has been shaken by a string of defections.

Should the government lose the no confidence vote it would not lead straight to an early election and Topolanek and his top ministers could stay on, possibly for months, while parties hammer out what to do next.

But while Topolanek might be able to stay on until the presidency was passed on in June, it would mean the EU presidency was being held by a country in which the parliament did not have faith in the government.

In a televised debate the rebellious Civic Democrat deputy Vlastimil Tlusty said the government had made enough errors and it was time for it to quit.

He did not directly say he would vote with the opposition but said he would coordinate his vote with two defectors from the ruling party whom he would try to convince they all do so.

“On Tuesday we will agree (with the two defectors) and I think from what I have said here it is clear that I will tell (them) that the cup has spilled over... it has been enough for one government,” Tlusty said.

No independent deputy has yet said how they will vote.

A government collapse would also more doubt on a plan to build a U.S. missile defense radar system in the country.

Reporting by Jana Mlcochova; Editing by Matthew Jones

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