The Christian Democrat MP Jiri Stodulka has offered his resignation following a recent bribery scandal in which politicians from various parties were offered money for political favours. Stodulka was apparently inclined to accept a party donation of one million crowns from an undercover reporter for the daily Mlada fronta Dnes if he would pressure his party to withdraw from a proposal to tax casino owners.


Two senior Communist MPs, Jiri Dolejs and Cenek Milota also resigned from their posts in the party leadership in connection with the scandal, but Mr Dolejs said that he had no plans to resign as an MP. Former Christian Democrat and prospective TOP 09 candidate Ladislav Sustr said he would no longer run in next spring's general elections after being implicated in the scandal.


Analysis and forecast: increasing risk

In early September Social Democrats (CSSD) decided to boycott the early elections as they refused to support the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies under the agreed amendment to the constitution and electoral law. The public opinion was shocked due to the Social Democrats’ volte-face, but it was rational, regarding the polls: even though the party is backed by a little more voters than the main rival, ODS seems to have the potential to form a government if elections were to be held in November. In the dynamic Czech political sphere balance of forces can change easily until spring 2010, which process can be even accelerated by scandals like the cash-for-influence one. The present case leaves the Social Democrats intact, while weakens both the newly formed TOP 09 (which party is a potential coalition partner for the Civic Democratic Party) and the Communists the most (who was just getting stronger last month, but is still not a potential coalition partner for the CSSD).



Source: Centrum pro výzkum veřejného mínění Sociologický ústav