PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech President Milos Zeman appointed economist Jiri Rusnok as prime minister on Tuesday, setting up a clash with outgoing center-right coalition parties which had pushed for their own candidate.
Rusnok, a leftist finance and industry minister in 2001-2003, including in one government led by Zeman, will replace Petr Necas, who resigned last week in a bribery and spying scandal involving a close aide.
The appointment of Rusnok, 52, is likely to extend political instability in the central European country, because the center-right outgoing coalition does not support him and he may fail to win a prescribed vote of confidence in parliament. Zeman said his main task would be to prepare the 2014 budget.
Zeman, a former leftist prime minister who won the country's first-ever direct presidential election in January, rejected a proposal by the coalition to make parliamentary speaker Miroslava Nemcova the new prime minister.
Under the constitution, presidents have the sole right to appoint prime ministers, but traditionally they have done that in cooperation with political parties in parliament.
Miroslav Kalousek, deputy leader of the TOP09 party in the outgoing ruling coalition, said Rusnok's cabinet had no chance of winning a vote of confidence.
The main opposition parties, the center-left Social Democrats and the far-left Communists, demand an early election, but for that plan they need at least part of the outgoing coalition to join forces with them.
(Reporting by Jana Mlcochova, writing by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)
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