When Milan Kastil was asked for a bribe to avoid a 250,000 koruna ($13,000) fine that threatened to ruin his Prague restaurant, he worked with Czech police to have the corrupt officials arrested in a sting operation.
The Czech political future may look a lot like its recent past after this weekend’s election: a government without the political strength and will to cut the country’s 163 billion koruna ($7.8 billion) budget deficit.
The Czech Civic Democrats and their coalition partners are working to quickly replace Petr Necas as premier to keep the conservative government in power through 2014 and fend off Socialist attempts to force early elections.
Czech Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok chose former technocrat Premier Jan Fischer as finance minister in his interim cabinet, handing this year’s presidential contender an economy mired in a record-long recession.
Bickering within the Czech Republic’s ruling coalition may prevent the government from overhauling state finances, undermining investor confidence that has helped the country’s bonds outperform German debt.
Czechs began voting as polls showed the election may produce another government lacking the strength to cut spending after the budget deficit more than doubled as a percentage of economic production last year.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas will try to save his coalition today by seeking a compromise on a health-care overhaul after his partners threatened to leave the government and strip his parliamentary majority.