Czech government in danger over coalition row

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 04, 2012 4:18 AM

PRAGUE (Reuters) - A Czech ruling coalition party pulled back from its threat to resign from government on Wednesday, but the centre-right cabinet still faced a crisis.

Public Affairs, the smallest member of a three-party cabinet, said on Tuesday its ministers would hand in resignations possibly as soon as Wednesday, and demanded Prime Minister Petr Necas meet a list of conditions for it to continue supporting the government.

The decision is the most serious threat to the central European country's centre-right coalition since it took office in mid-2010, although the rebellious party has threatened to quit several times before.

On Wednesday it said wanted time for talks on its conditions, which include a cabinet reshuffle and unspecified policy changes.

"The signed resignations will remain with me, ready for further steps. These further steps will be decided on the basis of the pace of negotiations with the prime minister," party leader Radek John said in a statement.

Necas took a tough stance late on Tuesday, saying resignations would mean an immediate end to the coalition that has been rocked by infighting although it has won praise from investors for cutting the budget deficit and initiating reforms in the pension, welfare and health sectors.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka and Robert Mueller; Editing by Angus MacSwan)