Three women in new Czech parliament's leadership
Jun 24, 2010, 16:02 GMT
Prague - The Czech Republic's new parliament in its opening session on Thursday elected three women to its four-member leadership.
Miroslava Nemcova, 57, a deputy chairwoman of the centre-right Civic Democratic Party, was elected the first female speaker of the Parliament's lower house in the Czech Republic's history.
Vlasta Parkanova, 58, of the conservative TOP 09, and Katerina Klasnova, 33, of the populist Public Affairs, won the posts of the chamber's vice-chairwomen.
Women are rare in leadership roles in top-level central European politics, but general elections in the region this spring brought some change.
The 200-seat Czech lower house elected in the May 28-29 poll includes 44 women, the highest number in the country's existence. Neighbouring Slovakia is set to have its first female prime minister, Iveta Radicova, as a result of the June 12 election.
Lubomir Zaoralek, 53, a lawmaker for the strongest opposition party, the Social Democrats, on Thursday became the only male vice-chairman of the Czech lower house.
Three parties that are in talks to form the country's centre-right government - the Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs - denied the Social Democrats the post of house speaker.
The prospective Czech ruling coalition also denied a leadership post in the chamber to the largely unreformed opposition Communists.
The opening session ended Thursday, enabling the outgoing caretaker cabinet of Prime Minister Jan Fischer to resign on Friday. The move would allow for further steps leading to a new centre-right government.
President Vaclav Klaus could then be expected to appoint Petr Necas, the Civic Democratic leader, as new prime minister. Necas has said that he aims to seal the coalition deal by July 7.