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Czech parties agree coalition
Three centre-right parties pledge to work together following weekend election.
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2010 13:29 GMT
Petr Necas, the Civic Democrats' interim chairman, is one of the favourites to become prime minister [EPA]

Three centre-right parties in the Czech Republic have signed an agreement to form a governing coalition following Saturday's general election.

The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and two new parties, TOP 09 and Public Affairs, will have a combined majority of 118 seats in the country's 200-seat lower chamber.

The leftist Social Democrats won the most votes in the election, but the combined gains by the three centre-right parties made it all but impossible for the left to take power.
 
The new coaliton has agreed to work toward reducing the country's debt and fighting corruption.

"The Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs ... express a shared will to create a coalition for a government of fiscal  responsibility and rule of law," said Petr Necas, the Civic Democrats' interim chairman and one of the contenders to become prime minister.

Any new premier needs to be designated by Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president, who said on Monday he would hold-off the step until after talks between the parties.

TOP09 was formed a year ago, mostly by defectors from the Christian Democrat Party, shortly after a centre-right cabinet fell in the middle of its term as European Union president.

It is led by Karel Schwarzenberg, a 72-year-old aristocrat and former foreign minister, who has a high reputation for personal integrity and has not been tainted by any corruption scandals.

Public Affairs was founded in 2001, but its activities had been largely confined to Prague city politics until this election.

The new government will replace a non-partisan caretaker team that has been running the Czech Republic since the toppling of an ODS-led centre-right coalition midway through the Czech presidency of the EU.

Source:
Agencies
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