Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Talks under way as Czech PM quits

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, who has now submitted his resignation
A search is under way for a new government to replace Mr Topolanek's

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has formally submitted his resignation, after his government lost a confidence motion on Tuesday.

Talks over the shape of a future government are already under way.

The fall of Mr Topolanek's coalition government comes in the middle of the Czech presidency of the European Union.

But with no clear coalition ready to take the reins, correspondents say it could be some time before a new government can be formed.

Mr Topolanek and his cabinet will remain in office until President Vaclav Klaus appoints a new cabinet or fresh elections are held.

'Quick solution' sought

Mr Topolanek - who heads the Civic Democrats, the largest party in parliament - tendered his resignation to Mr Klaus, only for the two to go straight into a closed-door meeting.

And on Friday, Mr Klaus will meet leaders of the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats.

Mr Klaus says he is seeking a "quick solution" to the political crisis, in light of the global downturn and his country's current presidency of the EU.

But correspondents caution that the process could be delayed by disagreements between Mr Topolanek and the Eurosceptic Mr Klaus.

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