Czech parliament still without speaker

The only candidate for the post of speaker, Jan Kasal of the center-right Christian Democratic Party, received 99 votes in two rounds of secret balloting - two votes short of what he needed, said the chamber's election committee chairman, Petr Tluchor.

The conservative Civic Democratic Party won the most votes in June 2-3 parliamentary election and its leader, Mirek Topolanek, has been chosen to form a government. But the election left the 200-seat parliament split down the middle, complicating his efforts to win support.

Outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek's Social Democrats have held up the process by blocking the conservatives from taking the speaker's post.

Together with the Communists, they also voted down an attempt to elect a speaker last month, the AP.

Paroubek wants the post for the Social Democrats, which would leave open a remote possibility that he could return to power despite his party's failure to grab the most votes in June.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team