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The Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and Greens have signed a coalition agreement on a centre-right government. The agreement, which follows weeks of tough negotiations, specifies the future government's policy programme, its line up and guidelines for cooperation. The Civic Democrats, who won the June general elections, will hold nine seats in the 18 member cabinet, the Christian Democrats five and the Greens four. One post - head of the legislative council - remains to be filled after the Christian Democrat's candidate unexpectedly rejected the offer at the last minute.

The government line up has caused controversy within the Civic Democratic Party where some party members are highly critical of the fact that the strongest party had not laid claim to influential ministerial posts. The posts of finance and foreign minister have gone to the Christian Democrats and the Greens respectively. The Prime Minister on Thursday dismissed suggestions that some of his own party deputies were considering boycotting the new government.

It is not yet clear if or when President Klaus will appoint the new government. Its set up is almost identical to the one he rejected earlier this month, expressing reservations both with regard to its line-up and the fact that the prime minister had not secured majority support for it in the lower house. The three-party alliance is one vote short of a majority in the Chamber of Deputies and would need the support of at least one rebel left-wing MP to pass a confidence vote. The Prime Minister has refused to enter into negotiations with the opposition Social Democrats and his party has indicated that it is hoping to win support from individual Social Democrat MPs.