Czechs move closer to assembling new government, coalition deal to be signed on Jan 6.

By bne IntelliNews December 23, 2013

The leftist Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) that narrowly won the October early elections, will sign on January 6 a coalition deal with anti-corruption movement ANO and centrist Christian Democrats, CTK news agency reported citing CSSD leader and likely the next prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka.

The three parties, which control a comfortable majority of 111 seats in the 200-seat parliament, agreed the coalition pact last week. They have nearly wrapped up talks on distributing the cabinet posts as CSSD has ceded to Christian Democrats’ demands to give them the agriculture ministry along with two more cabinet positions – the culture ministry and a ministry without portfolio.

Sobotka said his party will run eight ministries, including the interior and foreign ministries, while ANO will get six ministry posts including the finance ministry to be run by its leader, billionaire Anrej Babis.

Sobotka has said that by Jan 6 he will present his government to President Milos Zeman. The government, if approved by Zeman, will end a political stalemate that has crippled policy making since June when the former centre-right government collapsed amid a bribery and spying scandal. Zeman, who under the Czech Constitution has the right to appoint the prime minister, has indicated that he would play an active role in forming the new government, possibly rejecting some of Sobotka’s nominees.

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