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Czech Republic: Havel Opens Talks On New Government

Prague, 16 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Czech President Vaclav Havel began negotiations on the country's future government today, a day after the center-left Social Democrats won the parliamentary election. However, the Social Democratic Party, led by Vladimir Spidla, failed to gain enough votes to govern alone, winning 70 seats in the 200-seat lower chamber of the parliament. That was well ahead of the center-right Civic Democratic Party that finished with 58 seats.

The Communist Party finished third with 41 seats. Fourth was the center-right Coalition, made up of the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union, with 31 seats.

Spidla said before meeting Havel he would first consider forming a deal with the Coalition. Such a union would give the government a majority of one seat in parliament. He did not rule out forming a minority government should talks fail.