Social Democrats agree to nominate Miloslav Vlcek for speaker

Following a day of talks between President Vaclav Klaus and the heads of the five parliamentary parties, leaders appear to have reached a deal solving the first step in the political deadlock that ensued following June's national election. Until now, MPs had not been able to agree on a candidate for speaker of the lower house, blocking the political process, and preventing the president from naming anyone prime minister.

The candidate to serve temporarily as speaker is Social Democrat MP Miroslav Vlcek. If he is elected on Monday, President Vaclav Klaus will then appoint Mirek Topolanek whose party, the right-of-centre Civic Democrats won June's election, prime minister.

Mr Topolanek's party has been negotiating support for a minority government this week among the Social Democrats. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said on Friday that if his party's candidate is elected, his government will likely hand in its resignation on Tuesday. Mr Paroubek also confirmed that he would replace interim speaker Vlcek in the post if Mr Topolanek heads the new government.

Author: Jan Velinger