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The two political groups that broke the grip of Communist rule on Czechoslovakia on Monday began the search for coalition partners after winning the country's first free elections in 44 years.

A spokesman for President Vaclav Havel said the leader plans to appoint a new premier within days and probably will give the job to the incumbent, Marian Calfa, a former Communist who turned in his party card in January."It is probable (Calfa) will be entrusted with the role of forming a new government," presidential spokesman Michael Zantovsky told a news conference Monday.

Official results showed that Havel's Civic Forum and the group Public Against Violence - the Czech and Slovak sister organizations that spearheaded the November pro-democracy revolt - had captured the most seats in a new federal parliament. Calfa was a top candidate of Public Against Violence.

The Communists, who were overthrown in the November uprising, finished suprisingly strong, capturing second ahead of the Christian Democrats.

Turnout among the 11.2 million eligible voters was 96.7 percent, the highest percentage in Eastern Europe's recent spate of free elections.

Civic Forum and its sister party won 169 of the 300 contested seats in Parliament but fell short of the three-fifths needed to enact key constitutional and economic reforms that would fulfill the goals of the revolution. The two political groups captured about 46 percent of the vote.

Civic Forum had said before the voting on Friday and Saturday that it would seek a coalition government.