PM Gross to step down, former coalition partners agree to reform government headed by a Social Democrat

09-04-2005

A proposal put forth by Prime Minister Stanislav Gross on how to choose his replacement was agreed on Saturday by the top leadership of the Social Democratic party, of which Mr Gross is chairman. His proposal, first announced on Thursday, is to form a "pro-European" government of the three-party coalition including the centre-right Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union parties, with the new prime minister to again be a member of the left-leaning Social Democrats.

The leaders of the other two parties have agreed in principle to the proposal, and to Mr Gross' condition that he have final say over the appointment of new Cabinet ministers, but have bristled at his suggestion that those ministers who have "recently undermined" the old government - taken to mean the five ministers who have resigned from the Cabinet in recent days - not be allowed to return. However, all three parties have reportedly agreed in private that their leaders will not seek key Cabinet posts.