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Czech Republic to hold snap election

Lawmakers vote to dissolve parliament's lower house and hold an early election to end months of political turmoil.

Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 18:55
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The dissolution was supported by 140 members of the 200-seat lower house of parliament [Reuters]

Czech lawmakers have voted to dissolve parliament, triggering early elections that could put an end to months of political turmoil over a spy and bribery scandal.

The dissolution on Tuesday was supported by 140 members of the 200-seat lower house of parliament. The president, Milos Zeman, must now schedule an election, likely to be at the end of October.

The three parties that backed dissolving parliament were the far-left Communists, the right-wing TOP 09 and the left-wing Social Democrats, who polls suggest would easily win the snap vote.

An early election could also hand the Communist Party a share in power for the first time since a bloodless revolution ended the party's totalitarian rule two decades ago.

Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka said he hoped his party would form a minority government backed by other groups after the election.

"It is definitely possible to expect negotiations with the Communist Party," Sobotka said. "The Communists are in a number of town halls and in regional leaderships, and I do not see it causing problems."

The Czech Republic has been mired in political crisis since former Prime Minister Petr Necas stepped down over the bribery scandal in June involving his top aide and lover.

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