The Czech cabinet has resigned after losing a confidence vote last week, clearing the way for early elections that could resolve a political deadlock.

The main political parties have been locked in battle with President Milos Zeman since June when he named a close ally, Jiri Rusnok, to head a new cabinet against their wishes.

The resigned cabinet was dominated by allies of the leftist Mr Zeman.

Mr Rusnok was appointed after the previous centre-right government collapsed under the weight of a spying and bribery scandal.

Mr Zeman accepted the resignation and said Mr Rusnok, an economist, would stay on in a caretaker capacity "until the formation of a new government which I hope will come from a free election".

Leftist parties stand the best chance of winning an early election, according to opinion polls, a result that could return the Social Democrats to power for the first time since 2006.

The lower house will meet on 20 August and is expected to vote on a motion to dissolve parliament.

Mr Zeman will then be expected to dissolve the house within a few days and call a new election within 60 days, possibly in mid- to late-October.