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Czech Opposition Leader Rejects Proposed Coalition Government


The main opposition leader in the Czech Republic has rejected the proposed new government coalition approved by President Vaclav Klaus, dashing hopes of an end to seven months of political paralysis.

In a televised debate Wednesday, the leader of the Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek, told Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek "We will not raise our hand for your government and will not tolerate it."

President Klaus on Tuesday approved a new conservative coalition government of the prime minister's Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens.

That coalition controls half the seats in the Czech parliament while the Social Democrats and their communist allies control the other half.

The proposed government must face a vote of confidence within 30 days.

The 200-seat parliament has been split evenly between left and right alliances since the June elections.

A minority government drawn from Mr. Topolanek's party failed to win a confidence vote in October.

A second failure to form a government could force him to resign as party leader.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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