Conservative leader Mirek Topolanek is to attempt to form a government in the Czech Republic, despite failing to secure a working parliamentary majority. Topolanek’s coalition has won 100 of the 200 seats in the Czech parliament – not enough for a working majority.
Outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has belatedly admitted defeat and said he will go into opposition. Paroubek had threatened to contest the result in the courts, a position that did not please a small crowd of demonstrators that gathered in Prague’s Wenceslas Square to call for him to go. “I think it will be very hard to set up a new government now,“said one woman, “I don’t think they’ll be able to make a deal”. One possible outcome is a grand cross party coalition. Topolanek says he has not ruled out working with the Social Democrats, who for their part have said they would judge him according to his policies. The new Prime Minister in waiting is a former businessman who was voted in on a programme of tax cutting and fiscal reform.