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Czech ODS deputies' group expels MP who voted against govt on Tuesday

ČTK |
25 March 2009

Prague, March 24 (CTK) - The deputies for the Czech senior ruling Civic Democratic Party (ODS) expelled Vlastimil Tlusty from the ODS deputies' group on Tuesday, after he voted against the government in a no confidence vote initiated by the opposition, group chairman Petr Tluchor told journalists.

In reaction to this, Tlusty told CTK that the ODS group "was unable to do anything but expel and intimidate [its members]."

The ODS also intends to expel from the party unaffiliated deputy Jan Schwippel who left the ODS deputies' group last year himself.

"The deputies' group considers voting along with the Communists and Socialists for a no confidence in the government led by the ODS incompatible with membership in the ODS and recommends that the ODS executive council take all necessary steps to expel deputies Tlusty and Schwippel from the Civic Democratic Party," Tluchor said.

"There have been no talks between representatives of the party leadership and the deputies' group, none," Tlusty told CTK, adding that he did not even know that he had to attend a group meeting in the evening and he thus did not attend it.

The ODS deputies' group expect President Vaclav Klaus to act according to the constitution and entrust Mirek Topolanek as the chairman of the strongest party with forming a new government, Tluchor said.

The ODS will not support any non-political caretaker government, he said.

Interior Minister Ivan Langer (ODS) told CTK on Tuesday that the ODS executive council would call on relevant local organisations to expel the deputies from the party.

"I firmly believe that voting along with Communists and the Social Democrats against the government is such an argument in favour of the end of their party membership that no one can question," Langer said.

In the past, the local party organisation backed Tlusty regardless the pressure for his expulsion from the party leadership.

Four deputies elected to the Chamber of Deputies on the lists of candidates of the government coalition parties voted against the government on Tuesday that allowed the opposition that initiated the no confidence vote to gain the necessary 101 votes.

Apart from Schwippel and Tlusty, former Green Party (SZ) members Olga Zubova and Vera Jakubkova supported the no confidence in Topolanek's government.

The opposition thus managed to express no confidence in the government for the first time in the history of the Czech Republic.

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