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Czech Ruling Party Proposes First Female Premier After Spy Case

The Czech Civic Democratic Party today proposed Parliament Speaker Miroslava Nemcova for prime minister after a scandal of illegal spying and bribery allegations brought down the Cabinet of Petr Necas.

Nemcova, 60, will need approval from two junior coalition parties and President Milos Zeman to become the Czech Republic’s first female prime minister. Zeman, who has the sole right to name the next head of Cabinet, said today he won’t automatically accept any nomination and early elections remain a possibility.

The parties that formed Necas’s Civic Democrat-led three-way coalition are maneuvering to prevent an early election sought by the poll-leading opposition Social Democrats, who pledged higher taxes and more state spending to bring the $217 billion economy out of recession.

“We were aware that we have to find a solution that will bring stability to the government as soon as possible,” Martin Kuba, the Civic Democrats’ acting chairman, said at a news conference in Prague broadcast by state television. Nemcova’s nomination “is the best solution for calming the turbulent political waters.”

Nemcova has been a member of the Civic Democratic Party since 1992 and a lawmaker since 1998, according to her biography on the party’s website. She worked as a clerk at the Czech Statistics Office between 1972 and 1992, when she founded a bookstore that she owned until 2007.

Nighttime Raids

The political turmoil erupted June 13 after nighttime police raids resulted in the detention of eight people including the head of premier’s office. Zeman, the Czech Republic’s first directly elected head of state, became a leading figure in shaping the future government after the scandal forced Necas resign on June 17.

Zeman will meet the leaders of political parties starting on June 21 to hash out the options, while Necas remains as caretaker prime minister until his successor is named.

There are arguments for and against early elections and the president has several options, which include accepting a candidate who will demonstrate a majority support in the lower house of parliament, according to Zeman.

The junior coalition partner TOP09 will debate Nemcova’s nomination with the Civic Democrats, deputy Chairman Miroslav Kalousek said on the state television.

The current coalition, which controls 98 seats in the 200-member parliament, needs to secure a simple majority in the assembly to install a new government. It has relied on the votes of former coalition deputies who defected their parties to pass legislation.

The three parties said their priority is to create a new Cabinet together and keep the Social Democrats from forcing a snap ballot.

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