Centre-right parties in Czech talks

Centre-right parties in Czech talks

Three centre-right parties, led by the Civic Democrats under new leader Petr Necas, won 118 seats in the 200-seat lower house, a strong mandate that quashed expectations of a tight result or a stalemate, final results showed on Sunday.

The right had pledged fiscal austerity to avoid a Greek-style debt crisis, though the central European country’s debt, amounting to 35 per cent of gross domestic product, is only half the EU average and less than a third of Greece’s debt load.

But economists say the debt burden will rise quickly unless the new government starts reforming budget spending, including longer-term items such as the pensions system.

Civic Democrat leader Petr Necas met the heads of the two potential coalition partners, the conservative TOP09 late on Saturday and the centrist Public Affairs on Sunday morning, to discuss forming a government. Both are newly formed parties.

Analysts said negotiating with the inexperienced Public Affairs could be difficult, but if the three parties agree on a coalition, they will have the biggest majority any Czech government has had since the country was created in 1993.

A centre-right coalition would be the outcome most welcome to financial markets because investors believe it would be the government best equipped to launch the reforms.

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