Inter-party negotiations to form a new government are scheduled to begin on Sunday evening. Leaders of the Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and Freedom Union will be discussing a proposal put forth by Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to form a "pro-European" government with a new Social Democrat party member at the helm. Mr Gross has agreed to step down from office on the condition that the coalition members not nominate party leaders for key Cabinet posts. Under the Czech constitution, the prime minister's resignation automatically triggers the whole Cabinet's collapse. If Mr Gross quits, it would be the second cabinet collapse in the Czech Republic in less than a year.
Ahead of Sunday night's meeting, Christian Democrat deputy chairman Libor Ambrozek, who was one of five ministers to resign in recent days, said that his party would not let Mr Gross dictate who it would nominate to take up Cabinet post in a new government. He was reacting to the Prime Minister's demands that ministers who had "undermined" the government, presumably by resigning, not be allowed to resume their posts. According to the Social Democrats, the new government, which will likely be headed by the current Czech ambassador to the European Union, Jan Kohout, would be a kind of caretaker government, formed to gain confidence in an upcoming vote before the lower house of Parliament. Prime Minister Gross has said that if the coalition members do not agree to form such a government, the Social Democrats will govern alone with a minority Cabinet.
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