Central Europe Activ

The economic and political crisis looms in Central Europe: Mirek Topolanek’s minority right-wing, and Ferenc Gyurcsány’s minority left-wing government failed this week.

In the Czech Republic,after a likely corruption scandal, Topolanek’s government lost a vote of confidence. Mr. Václav Klaus, the euroskeptic president said that because of the EU presidency, that the Topolanek government happens to hold and the economic crisis a new government must be formed without early elections. He said that he will appoint Mr Topolanek again if he is able to muster a parliamentary majority. Mr Topolanek’s coalition government of the Civic Democrats (ODS), the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and the Greens (SZ) will remain a care-taker government.

In Hungary, Mr Gyurcsány last Saturday has announced to an astonished party conference that he will leave his job in two weeks time, and he would like to have a successful replacement vote in early April to avoid early elections that his party would surely loose. A chaotic haggling has begun, where the Socialist party, with some help of the two small parliamentary parties, tried to form an interim government to handle the economic crisis. When the strongest opposition party refused to co-operate, all possible technocrats to lead such a government stood back, and a stunning casting has begun to find a new left-wing majority with at least 15 candidates. This chaotic process has cost Mr Gyurcsány’s party chairmanship on 28 March. His first announcement a week before was regarded by many as a new trick from the master of Hungarian political tactics. On Monday he made it clear that he will leave the job anyway. Rumor has it that like the former German Chancellor with North Stream, Mr Gyurcsány will take a similar role in Gazprom’s South Stream gas pipeline.

Although many would prefer a continouity in the government and later elections in both countries, the major opposition parties are eager to regain control of the their respective countries, probably because the deep economic and political crisis offers a chance of real change. It is likely that both countries will have a joint national and EP election campaign.

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