The Czech Republic could be heading for more political turmoil after President Milos Zeman appointed left-wing economist Jiri Rusnok as prime minister, snubbing the outgoing centre-right coalition.
The previous leader Petr Necas quit last week in a corruption scandal involving an aide.
Rusnok, a former finance and industry minister, wants to form a cabinet of non-party experts. Many do not expect the new leader to last long in office. He is likely to face an early and very tricky vote of confidence in parliament.
However the newly-appointed prime minister is looking ahead: “Our main goal now is to establish the budget for the next year. Members of parliament should take into account that they’re not here just to lead pointless discussions, but to do their work,” Rusnok said.
The outgoing coalition had suggested Miroslava Nemcova for prime minister. She has described the appointment of a political opponent as a “stillborn baby”, as disrespectful to parliament and an irresponsible step.
Parties with parliamentary majorities usually have a say in the appointment of prime ministers. But under the constitution the president has the sole right to decide.
The fallout from Petr Necas’ resignation is casting a big shadow over events. Police have charged eight people including his chief of staff Jana Nagyova. She is in custody accused of ordering illegal spying and offering bribes to three MPs. Her lawyer says she acted in good faith.