Czech President Milos Zeman has appointed his economic adviser, Jiri Rusnok, as the country's new technocrat prime minister. He will replace Petr Necas who resigned last week amid a combined bribery and spying scandal.
Former Czech Finance Minister Jiri Rusnok (pictured above, right) was picked as replacement prime minister by leftist President Milos Zeman on Tuesday. Center-right coalition rivals warned that Rusnok would not survive a parliamentary confidence vote.
Czech President Milos Zeman (pictured above, left) said Rusnok, who is widely seen as a Zeman protégé, could rule until September – under a 60-day constitutional time limit - if political parties in parliament agreed to dissolve the lower house and hold an early election.
Rusnok's main task would be to prepare the country's 2014 budget, Zeman said in Prague.
Rusnok, a 52-year-old economist who currently heads a Czech pension fund, said he aimed to form a new cabinet within two weeks.
Toppled by corruption scandal
Necas was forced to step down last week after his chief of staff, Jana Nagyova, was indicted for abuse of power and bribery.
The Czech Republic, with 10.5 million inhabitants, is ranked poorly by the corruption watchdog Transparency International and has been struggling to emerge from 18-months of recession.
The deputy leader of the right-wing TOP09 party in the outgoing coalition, Miroslav Kalousek, said that a Cabinet formed by Rusnok had little chance of winning a parliamentary vote of confidence.
The main opposition parties, the center-left Social Democrats and far-left Communists, want an early election, but would need votes from at least part of the outgoing coalition.
ipj/slk Reuters, AP, AFP)