Yesterday, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek announced that he has “accepted the result of the vote in which the Chamber of Deputies expressed no confidence in his Government.” Under the Czech Republic’s Constitution, the Prime Minister must submit his resignation to the Czech President who “will then decide on the appointment of a Prime Minister who will form the new government.” Prime Minister Topolánek’s resignation is further complicated by the fact that the Czech Republic has controled the EU Council’s rotating presidency since January 1, 2009, for a term expiring on June 30, 2009. The release stated that “this situation has no effect on the role of the President of the European Council held by the President of the strongest party in the Parliament.” Therefore, it appears that whoever is appointed as Prime Minister by the Czech President would succeed to the EU Presidency for the remainder of the current term. The European Commission has only stated that “[i]t is for the Czech Republic’s democratic process under the constitution to resolve the domestic political issues; the Commission is confident that this is done in a way which ensures the full functioning of the Council Presidency.”

Earlier this week, the Hungarian Prime Minister resigned following a vote of no confidence. Similarly, Latvia, Iceland, and Belgium have seen government resignations since December 2008.