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Czech parliament approves constitutional amendment to allow early elections

[JURIST] The Czech Parliament on Friday approved [press release, in Czech] a constitutional amendment [text, in Czech] that would allow the legislative body to dissolve and hold early elections. The lawmakers initially agreed [JURIST report] to amend the country's constitution [text] on Thursday following a decision [judgment, PDF, in Czech] by the country's Constitutional Court [official website, in Czech] that delayed the elections in response to a suit brought by independent lawmaker Milos Melcak [official website, in Czech]. Melcak alleged that the earlier scheduled elections violated his right to serve a full parliamentary term. The court ruled that the elections scheduled for October 9 and 10 would amount to a suspension of the constitution.

Earlier this month, after the court announced it would consider Melcak's suit, Czech President Vaclav Klaus [official website, in Czech] expressed his concern [JURIST report] for the decision and called it "highly political." Klaus held a meeting after the court's initial decision to discuss the proposed amendments. Former prime minister Mirek Topolanek [official website; JURIST news archive] formally resigned [JURIST report] in March, dissolving parliament, which led to the scheduling of the now-delayed October elections. The Czech Republic has been experiencing economic difficulty over the past year and the delayed election will further delay budget negotiations.

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