New Czech government likely Tuesday

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, April 24 (UPI) -- An agreement to form a new Czech government should be signed among coalition parties Tuesday, Prime Minister designate Jiri Paroubek said Sunday.

Paroubek was quoted by Czech Television as saying it was unlikely a deal could be signed Monday because the head of one of the parties, the Christian Democrats, had traveled to Rome for the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI.


Paroubek, who was approved as the successor of current Prime Minister Stanislav Gross during a Saturday meeting of his Social Democratic Party, will become the third Czech Prime Minister in less than 12 months.

Gross was forced to step aside amid a scandal over the financing of his luxury apartment in Prague.

Gross had succeeded Vladimir Spidla as premier following a disastrous showing by the Social Democrats at the European Parliamentary elections in June. At 35, Gross is Europe's youngest serving prime minister.

The Social Democrats have governed in coalition with the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union since elections in 2002. The next round of Czech parliamentary elections is to take place in 2006.


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