August 22, 2013 / 10:18 AM / in 5 years

Czech president to dissolve parliament on August 28 to trigger snap election

Czech President Milos Zeman smiles after receiving the resignation of Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok's cabinet at the Prague Castle in Prague August 13, 2013. REUTERS/David W Cerny

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech President Milos Zeman will formally dissolve the lower house of parliament on August 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 October 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 center-right cabinet of Prime Minister Petr Necas collapsed amid a corruption and spying scandal.

Opinion polls show that the center-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.

Reporting by Robert Mueller, writing by Jana Mlcochova; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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