Talks on new government closing

Vladimir Spidla, Photo:CTK

Talks on a new government between the Social Democrats and the centre right Coalition of Freedom Union and the Christian Democrats have come to an end. The distribution of power, goals and functioning of the new Czech government in the next four years are to be defined by a written coalition agreement. Since the start of the negotiations on June 18, the three parties managed to narrow down the number of disputed issues until they finally settled on a common programme last Wednesday. On Thursday, however, the leader of the Freedom Union, Hana Marvanova, resigned from her post in protest against the progress of the talks. As the country is expecting a new prime minister to be named, Pavla Horakova brings this report.

Vladimir Spidla, Photo:CTK
On Sunday, the head of the Social Democrats, Vladimir Spidla, briefed President Vaclav Havel on the results of the coalition talks and his proposals for the posts of new government ministers. The Social Democrats will have two thirds of seats in the government and the Freedom Union and the Christian Democrats will have six between them. Concrete names have not been officially disclosed yet but it is already clear that among the hot candidates there are only two women. In the previous government headed by Milos Zeman there were none. Women's rights activist and member of the Social Democrats, Michaela Marksova-Tominova, comments on the progress.

"Of course, it will be a progress anyway because in the previous government there was not a single woman. We were maybe the only country in Europe without a single woman in the government. But I think that it's a good start. Of course, it's a very strange situation because the Czech Social Democratic Party is the only one in this country which has internal quotas for women. But this applies only to internal party bodies and as we can see it does not apply to candidate lists and government."

After the final list of cabinet members is ready and the coalition agreement is singed, Vladimir Spidla will most likely be appointed prime minister this week. If all goes as expected, President Havel will appoint the new government on July 15 - that is less than a month after he first asked the leader of the victorious Social Democrats, Vladimir Spidla, to start negotiations.