The Czech Republic's coalition government may crumble over a junior party's rejection of a plan to compensate religious organizations for property seized by the former Communist regime.
Two conservative coalition members _ the Civic Democrats of the prime minister and the TOP 09 party _ told the junior Public Affairs party Monday that its "no" would end the coalition that came to power after the 2010 election.
The proposal would give Czech churches 56 percent of their former property now held by the state and compensates them financially. A total of 59 billion koruna ($2.9 billion) would be paid to them over the next 30 years.
The plan is part of the government's agenda and all three parties, as well the country's 17 churches, had approved it.
"The religious restitution is one of the key items in our coalition deal," said lawmaker Petr Gazdik of TOP 09.
But the Public Affairs party says the state cannot now afford the plan due to Europe's economic crisis and have asked for the financial compensation to be postponed.
"We were told: 'Take it as it is or the government would fall,'" Public Affairs deputy chairman Karolina Peake said.
The left-wing opposition also opposes the plan.
Without Public Affairs, the two other parties, who have long supported the property claims of religious groups, would lose their parliamentary majority.
The plan is up for vote Wednesday.
The Communist regime, which seized power in 1948 in what was then Czechoslovakia, confiscated all the property owned by churches and persecuted many priests. Churches were then allowed to function only under the state's control and supervision.