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President Klaus is to meet with the leaders of all five parliamentary parties in the course of Thursday and Friday to try to resolve the post-election stalemate. Since June's inconclusive general elections, which gave the right and left block 100 seats each in the lower house, the leaders of the two biggest parties - the centre right Civic Democrats and the Social Democrats - have been arguing over what kind of coalition government should be formed.

The leader of the Social Democrats Jiri Paroubek has refused to support a centre right coalition and earlier this week he gave a lukewarm response to an offer to join the three parties in a rainbow coalition. Mr. Paroubek said he preferred to discuss other alternatives such as a grand coalition or a minority Civic Democrat government with tacit support from the Social Democrats. These scenarios were in turn rejected by Civic Democratic Party leader Mirek Topolanek, whose party won the elections but lacks a majority in parliament.

It is not clear whether the lower house will make another attempt to elect a new leadership on Friday. The Social Democrats have refused to put forward a candidate for the post of speaker and it seems there may not be anyone in the running.

In a related development, the leader of the Green Party Martin Bursik has accused the leader of the Social Democrats Jiri Paroubek of trying to win over some Green Party deputies in order to gain the upper hand in the lower house. Mr. Bursik did not name any names but said he was aware of what was going on and wanted the public to know what was happening.