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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
New Czech PM appointed

The Czech president, Vaclav Havel, has officially appointed the Social Democratic leader, Vladimir Spidla, as the new prime minister.

The widely-expected move follows an agreement between the Social Democrats and two smaller, centrist parties to form a coalition government.

President Havel is now expected to approve the full list of ministers on Monday.

Mr Spidla has pledged to work towards the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union in 2004.

But he's also said he will preserve the welfare state and run higher deficits, which will keep the country outside the European single currency, the euro, until the end of the decade. The three parties together hold a majority of just one seat in the Czech parliament.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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