Social Democrats refuse three-party agreement on new cabinet

14-04-2005

The leadership of the Social Democratic Party has not approved Thursday's agreement with the other two parties of the collapsed ruling coalition, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union. The parties originally agreed to re-join forces and form a new cabinet, allowing Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to resign after months of turmoil and averting early elections but the Social Democrats have not ratified the agreement. The chairman of the lower house, Social Democrat Lubomir Zaoralek, said that the party's leadership insists on their earlier proposal to form a pro-European coalition cabinet which would not include the leaders of the three coalition parties.

The deal, approved by the three parties' negotiators in the early hours of Thursday meant to pave the way for Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to quit over a housing scandal and be replaced, probably by his preferred candidate, European Union ambassador and rank-and-file Social Democrat Jan Kohout.