Jan Fischer, head of the Czech Republic's National Statistics Office, was appointed Prime Minister of a caretaker technocrat cabinet Thursday.

Fischer, the 58-year-old economist, has spent most of his career either in the public sector or the academia.

The formation of a new ministry, made up of non-partisan experts, was necessitated after a center-right governing coalition headed by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek was defeated in a no-confidence vote last month.

Topolanek, who is also the leader of the Civic Democratic Party, and opposition Social Democratic Party Chairman Jiri Paroubek agreed on the idea of an alternate government.

The bitter rivals have compromised in their choice of Fischer, a novice in top politics, as the new Prime Minister.

Under a deal signed by the two sides, the interim government will assume power May 9, and will continue to rule the country until the polls are held on October 9-10.

Fischer said that he would begin talks on the composition of the new cabinet next week and would take over from Topolanek only after President Vaclav Klaus appointed the entire cabinet.

The Czech republic's six-month EU presidency lasts through June 30.

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