Czech parliament dissolved for early elections

Parliament in session in Prague on 20 August 2013 The proposal to dissolve parliament won the support of 140 MPs

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Czech MPs have voted to dissolve parliament, paving the way for early elections.

New elections will end months of political turmoil after Prime Minister Petr Necas's government collapsed in June amid a bribery scandal.

A government of technocrats, formed by President Milos Zeman in July and opposed by the main political parties, resigned last week.

Fresh elections are expected to be held in October.

The proposal to dissolve parliament was tabled by the three main parties and was backed by 140 legislators in the 200-seat lower house of parliament.

Lost confidence vote

The decision to dissolve parliament and force early elections had been widely expected following weeks of turmoil within Czech politics.

It began when Petr Necas resigned in June after a senior aide with whom he was allegedly having an extra-marital affair was charged with bribery and abuse of power.

Two former MPs, an ex-minister and the current and former heads of military intelligence were also detained in the largest anti-corruption investigation in the country since the fall of communism.

President Zeman appointed a long-time leftist ally Jiri Rusnok as Mr Necas's successor and swore in a technocratic "government of experts" on 10 July.

But critics accused Mr Zeman of trying to grab powers from parliament.

Centre-right parties, which had supported Mr Necas, argued that they had the right to form a government because they held a majority of 101 in the lower house.

The new cabinet lost of a vote of confidence in parliament earlier this month.

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