PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech parliament voted on Tuesday to dissolve itself, triggering an early election which 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 this country of 10 million people, the Communists are linked with 41 years of repression. But by being out of power for so long, the party has escaped the taint of sleaze and corruption that has attached to the governments in office since the end of Communist rule.
Tuesday's vote to dissolve parliament came about after the previous elected 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.
In an interview with Reuters before the dissolution vote, Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka said that after the election 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. "The Communists are in a number of town halls and in regional leaderships, and I do not see it causing problems."
But he said his party would not accommodate the Communists' program or bring them into a governing coalition.
That was a nod to the toxic reputation the Communists still have for many Czechs, and to worries about back-tracking on market reforms in the Czech Republic, one of the more stable emerging markets that has attracted heavy foreign investment.
(Writing by Christian Lowe and Jana Mlcochova; Editing by)
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