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Czech's Social Democrats, Communists may partner

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By Reuters
Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, 10:06 p.m.

PRAGUE — The Czech parliament voted on Tuesday to dissolve itself, triggering an early election that could hand the Communist Party a share in power for the first time since a bloodless revolution ended the party's totalitarian rule two decades ago.

Opinion polls show that the center-left Social Democrats will be the biggest party, but they will need support from other groups to govern and the leader of the party said he would talk to the Communists about forming a partnership.

In the eyes of many people in the country of 10 million people, the Communists are linked to 41 years of repression. But by being out of power for so long, the party has escaped the taint of sleaze that has tarnished the governments that took over from it.

The vote to dissolve parliament came about after the previous government folded under charges from prosecutors that an aide to the prime minister, who was also his lover, had his wife put under surveillance.

The dissolution was supported by 140 members of the 200-seat lower house of parliament. The president, Milos Zeman, must now schedule an election, likely to be at the end of October.

Zeman's chief of staff Vratislav Mynar said the president would meet party leaders on Friday to discuss the date of the election.

In an interview with Reuters before the dissolution vote, Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka said he hoped his party would form a minority government backed by other groups.

“It is definitely possible to expect negotiations with KSCM (the Communist Party),” Sobotka said. But he said his party would not bring them into a governing coalition.

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