Gross has good chance of succeeding as prime minister, say analysts

Vaclav Klaus with Stanislav Gross, photo: CTK

After weeks of negotiations, Stanislav Gross has finally been appointed prime minister. But with a very slim majority in the Chamber of Deputies - and divisions within his Social Democratic Party - what are the chances of the youthful Mr Gross succeeding as head of government? Political scientist, Jiri Pehe:

Jiri Pehe
"Stanislav Gross has been in politics since 1989, so although he is very young, he is a veteran of sorts, and he is certainly a very experienced politician. I think that as far as his personal qualities go, he is a very good communicator; he is someone who does not divide but unites. That is a good quality for politics in particular, for the social democratic party, which as we know has been split in recent years and I think that Mr Gross will be able to unite this party, at least temporarily."

The present government coalition is facing lots of problems. Its public support is declining. Stanislav Gross is a very popular politician but does he have a chance to change anything?

Vaclav Klaus with Stanislav Gross,  photo: CTK
"I think that Mr Gross has a pretty good chance to change the image of his party and the ruling coalition. The main problem of the government that Mr Spidla put together and of his ruling coalition was the fact that Mr Spidla was a very bad communicator. The steps he took were necessary and some of them actually quite good. However, he was not really able to explain to the public what he was doing and I think that this is a quality of Mr Gross in which he surpasses Vladimir Spidla, in which he is simply better. I think that Gross will pay a lot of attention to explaining to the public what he is doing, why he is doing it, and he will be simply a much better salesman of government politics than Vladimir Spidla ever was."

The newly formed government is due to remain in office until 2006 - but with a majority of just one, what are the chances of Mr Gross's cabinet staying the course? That's a question we put to Vladimira Dvorakova from the University of Economics:

"I think there is a chance to finish this term. It will really depend whether the situation in the Social Democratic Party would be stabilised. This is now the greatest question mark because it's clear that not everybody in the Social Democratic Party is very happy to have Gross as the prime minister or in effect as a chief of the party. There will be a congress in spring 2005 there will be probably elections of the new leadership. Anything like that can influence the stability of the coalition but there is no strong will for preterm elections in Social Democratic Party because public opinion polls show very low prestige of Social Democracy. So they will probably try to use all the term to show some positive results of their government."