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The collapse of the Czech government sent shivers through financial markets in eastern Europe yesterday fanning fears about the growing political unrest that appears to be sweeping through the EU's eastern fringes.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek's government narrowly lost a vote of no-confidence on Tuesday night, four days after the Hungarian leader, Ferenc Gyuarcsany, threw in the towel and five weeks after the Latvian government fell under a barrage of public protests. Most of eastern Europe's main currencies lost value yesterday as Czechs pondered the impact of Mr Topolanek's defeat, while Romania turned to the IMF for a €20bn lifeline.
The government in Prague was fatally wounded by a series of scandals rather than looming financial meltdown, but with its removal another element of uncertainty has been added to eastern Europe's volatile mix of economic weakness, political frailty and rising public discontent.