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Politics

Pro-Europe Czech Cabinet bolstered by vote of confidence

The Czech government's center-left cabinet has won a vote of confidence, opening the way for it to end a period of political stagnation. The emboldened new coalition is expected to adopt more pro-European policies.

The new Czech coalition won the confidence vote, with 110 lawmakers in the 200-seat lower house voting in the government's favor late on Tuesday.

Under Czech law, governments have to call a confidence vote within 30 days of taking office. President Milos Zeman appointed the new cabinet on January 29, bringing to an end a seven-month power vacuum.

The confidence vote means the coalition can press ahead with its program, having pledged to fight corruption and make economic growth a priority.

The Social Democrats of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka emerged as the winners in October elections that followed the fall of the pervious center-right coalition in the middle of 2013. He now leads a three-party coalition that also takes in the conservative Christian Democrats and the centrist ANO (Yes) movement led by billionaire businessman Andrej Babis.

Sobotka has said he will bring an end to the euroskeptic policies of his predecessors, first of all by joining the EU's fiscal compact - an agreement on budget responsibility.

While he has pledged to keep the country's deficit below 3 percent of Gross Domestic Product, this represents a softening of the last government's target of eliminating the deficit altogether. Sobotka has said he would delay the implementation of the pact's tough conditions on the structural deficit, which would force the government to cut spending more quickly.

The Czech Republic has grown somewhat used to unstable cabinets, having had 11 prime ministers and 13 cabinets in the past 21 years.

rc/jm (AP, Reuters)

DW.DE