Paroubek: Social Democrats unlikely to join coalition


Social Democrat chairman and outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said that his party is prepared to support a minority Civic Democrat cabinet or to agree with the Civic Democrats on a caretaker government. Speaking after a party leadership meeting on Tuesday morning, he said that his party was unlikely to accept the offer made by Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek to join the ongoing coalition talks. In an article published in Tuesday's Hospodarske noviny, Mr Paroubek indicated that he considered the formation a caretaker government agreed on by the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats to be the only solution to the post-election deadlock.

Reacting to his rival's declaration, Mr. Topolanek says that his Civic Democrats are not prepared to accept the idea of a caretaker government composed of his party and MPs from the Social Democratic Party. Mr. Topolanek says that Mr. Paroubek's rejection of Monday's offer to participate in coalition talks is destructive.

The centre-right coalition of the Civic Democratic Party, the Christian Democrats, and the Greens offered the Social Democrats a place in the coalition cabinet on Monday. Before the weekend, the coalition also said that it was ready to support the election of a Social Democrat as the speaker of the lower house of parliament. The next round of talks about the creation of a new government is scheduled for Wednesday.