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Czech Republic PM resigns casting doubt on future of EU reform treaty

[JURIST] Czech Republic Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek [official website; JURIST news archive] formally resigned Thursday, casting doubt on the future of the European Union (EU) reform pact known as the Treaty of Lisbon [EU materials; text]. Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra [official website] said Wednesday that the recent collapse of the country's ruling coalition would likely "complicate" its ratification of the treaty. The coalition had been led by Topolanek, but the government on Tuesday lost a no-confidence vote [Prague Post report] in the country's parliament, leading to his Thursday resignation [Czech Radio report]. There has also been speculation that the failure could cause other problems [Prague Monitor report] for the EU given the Czech Republic's presidency [EU presidency website] of the Union, but Topolanek said he doesn't expect the power change to affect the country's participation in the role. The Czech Senate [official website] had been expected to vote on the treaty next month, but it is not clear whether that timeline will now be met.

The Czech Republic's Chamber of Deputies [official website], or lower house of parliament, in February approved [press release; JURIST report] the Lisbon Treaty, but both the senate and President Vaclav Klaus [official website] must also approve the treaty for it to be adopted. Beyond challenges in the Czech Republic, the treaty still must pass a referendum in Ireland where voters had earlier rejected [JURIST reports] the treaty in a June 2008 referendum, prompting Polish President Lech Kaczynski [official website] to refuse [JURIST report] to sign, calling it "pointless." In November, Sweden became the 24th EU state to ratify the charter [JURIST report]. In 2005, a proposed European constitution [JURIST news archive] failed when voters in France and the Netherlands [JURIST reports] rejected the proposal in national referenda.

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