Czech President gives nod to center-left leader to form coalition

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 11, 2013 1:29 PM
Czech President gives nod to center-left leader to form coalition

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech President Milos Zeman said on Monday he would probably ask Bohuslav Sobotka, leader of the center-left Social Democratic Party, to negotiate with other groupings about forming a coalition government.

Sobotka is the natural candidate to lead the talks after his party performed strongest in last month's election, but it was not a foregone conclusion that Zeman would give him the green light because of the icy relationship between the two men.

"I would consider it quite reasonable (to ask Sobotka) next week," Zeman said in a radio interview.

"I would just remind him, that should I appoint him a prime minister, he would have to wait, because that is a bit more of a dignified occasion, which I cannot do from a wheel-chair, so an appointment won't come sooner than in the beginning of December," said Zeman, 69, who is off work recovering from a knee injury.

The Social Democrats won 20.5 percent of the vote. Their most likely coalition partners are the centrist ANO party and the Christian Democrats.

Sobotka fought off a rebellion from people in his own party unhappy at what was still party's weakest showing in the history of the Czech Republic.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Christian Lowe)