Lawmakers initially approve public servants law, condition for president to appoint government

Parliament's lower house has given initial approval to legislation on public servants, a condition set by President Milos Zeman to appoint a new Czech center-left government.

Zeman appointed the Social Democratic party's leader Bohuslav Sobotka as the new prime minister last week and said he would swear in his government by the end of January once the legislation made it through the first of the three parliamentary readings — which happened Wednesday.

The Social Democrats have signed a deal with the ANO (Yes) movement led by billionaire businessman Andrej Babis and the Christian Democrats to form a government.

The legislation, which is also is a condition for continuing to receive European Union funds, sets rules for civil service employment.