Breakthrough in talks on new government

Czech political leaders have made a breakthrough in talks on the formation of a new government, breaking a two months long deadlock. An agreement reached on Friday envisages the election of Social Democrat Miloslav Vlcek to the post speaker of parliament on a temporary basis, the resignation of the old cabinet and the appointment of a prime minister designate, all within a matter of days. All parliamentary parties have agreed to the plan, although the centre right parties have said they need guarantees from MP Vlcek that his mandate would be temporary and that he would resign under precisely defined conditions.

Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party has agreed to support a minority Civic Democratic Party government which would include both politicians and experts. The Social Democrats themselves would go into the opposition, and if all goes according to plan, party leader Jiri Paroubek would eventually become speaker of the lower house.