Centre right parties favouring tough austerity measures look set to form the Czech Republic’s next government following a closely fought general election.
Petr Necas, leader of the rightwing Civic Democrats, thanked voters for giving the party the opportunity to create a coalition capable of tackling the country’s budget deficit and introducing necessary economic savings.
Despite winning the most support, the poll topping leftist Social Democrat Party was eclipsed by the three main centre right parties.
They are now expected to join forces to form a coalition government led by the Civic Democrats. If so, they will have the largest ever majority for a Czech government.
The result was a blow for Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek, who announced he would be resigning as head of the pro-welfare party.
“It seems the people chose the direction in which our country should go, and it’s a different direction from the one the Social Democrats offered,” he said.
Analysts hope the decisive election outcome will finally end the political deadlock which has held the country back from making key policy decisions and launching reforms.