The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, has asked the Socialist leader, Vladimir Spidla, to form the new government, following the party’s victory in general elections.
Despite winning nearly one third of the vote, the Socialist Government will not be strong. Mr Spidla will try to set up a coalition with a small Centrist party, which would give the Government only a single seat majority in the Parliament.
The Socialists gained 70 seats, and the Centrist Coalition of Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union 31 out of 200 seats.
Mr Spidla had said he would not invite the Communists to join the Government. He said that other political deals were possible, including a minority government.
The new Government’s main task will be to bring the Czech Republic into the EU. The victory of the pro-European Socialists will ensure that Prague remains a keen supporter of EU membership. The new Government is also expected to speed up economic reforms and fight widespread corruption.