New cabinet should be clear by Thursday: Paroubek

The politician chosen to replace Stanislav Gross as Czech prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, says the composition of his cabinet should be clear by Thursday at the latest. Mr Paroubek, a deputy chairman of the Social Democrats and currently minister for regional development, says he does not expect many ministerial changes. Representatives of his party, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union met on Wednesday to discuss their continued co-operation in government.

The coalition formed by the three parties after elections in 2002 broke down recently, after Mr Gross and his wife became embroiled in a scandal concerning their personal finances. The prime minister is expected to resign formally after a meeting of senior Social Democrats on Saturday

President Vaclav Klaus said on Wednesday he would not react to the latest developments until Mr Gross showed him a signed coalition agreement and tendered his resignation.

Author: Ian Willoughby