Czech senior ruling party proposes parliament speaker Nemcova to be first woman PM.

By bne IntelliNews June 20, 2013

Czech senior ruling party Civic Democrats (ODS) has proposed lower house speaker Miroslava Nemcova to head a new centre-right coalition government following the resignation of Petr Necas who stepped down earlier this week after a bribery and spying scandal involving his closest aide, CTK news agency reported.  

The current ruling coalition that also includes conservative TOP 09 and small liberal party LIDEM wants to form a new government to rule the country until scheduled general elections due in mid-2014 but the leftish opposition is calling for early elections. The major opposition party, Social Democrats (CSSD), is tipped as the likely winner in next elections as it has been topping opinion polls ever since the last general elections in May 2010 and is holding a comfortable lead of 15%.

If elected, Nemcova will be the country’s first woman prime minister. But in order to happen, first ODS will have to secure the backing of partners TOP 09 and LIDEM and then a nod from President Milos Zeman, who has the sole right to appoint prime minister. The ruling coalition is short of at least two votes in the 200-seat parliament to have a new government elected.  TOP 09 deputy chairman and outgoing finance minister Miroslav Kalousek said Nemcova was “an excellent nomination” but he fears there will be difficult to find her replacement as parliament speaker.

Prior to nominating Nemcova, Zeman said that he may reject the ruling coalition candidate for premier indicating that he may call early elections. Zeman, the country’s first directly elected president, is a political opponent of the ruling coalition.

Nemcova, 60, is among the most popular Czech politicians but she does not have strong allies within ODS. According to a May poll by STEM agency, Nemcova ranked as the country’s fourth most popular politician with a backing of 43%. She joined ODS in 1992 and has been lawmaker since 1998. After serving two four-year terms as deputy chairwoman of the parliament’s lower house, she was elected speaker in 2010.

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