The Czech government is bracing for a defeat in regional elections this weekend that could have a knock-on effect on its forthcoming EU presidency.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek’s Civic Democrats have long expected to lose some of the 12 out of 13 regions they hold.
The party is riven with infighting and Topalnek’s opponents would likely push for his removal at a party conference in December if there were heavy
It raises the real prospect of the country taking over the presidency the following month in a state of political paralysis.
Brussels already had concerns about the Czech presidency as Prague has not yet ratified the Lisbon Treaty.
The government is also further undermined by opposition to the Republic’s participation in the US missile defence plan. Plans to host radar systems have proved deeply unpopular with many in the country. They can be expected to register their disapproval in this weekend’s vote.