Czech president sets election date for October 25-26

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 23, 2013 9:32 AM
Czech president sets election date for October 25-26

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic will hold an election on October 25-26, President Milos Zeman officially announced on Friday, confirming a date he gave earlier for a snap poll that is expected to usher in a left-leaning, pro-European cabinet.

Opinion polls show the center-left Social Democrats will be the biggest party in the new parliament. Their 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.

Social Democrats leader Bohuslav Sobotka told Reuters this week his party could rule in a minority government, supported by the Communist Party or other factions 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.

The ballot will end a period of political stalemate triggered by a corruption and spying scandal that unseated the previous center-right cabinet in June and has since been crippling policymaking.

Zeman told a Czech newspaper earlier this month that October 25-26 would be the dates, but Friday's comments were his official confirmation.

(Reporting by Robert Mueller; Writing by Jana Mlcochova; Editing by Alison Williams)