Petr Necas told a televised briefing that he was aware of his “political responsibility”
Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas has announced that he will resign on Monday after days of political turmoil.
His ruling coalition will try to form a new government led by someone nominated by his Civic Democratic Party (ODS).
Pressure had been growing on Mr Necas to quit since prosecutors on Friday charged his chief of staff Jana Nagyova with corruption and abuse of power.
Two former MPs, an ex-minister and the current and former heads of military intelligence have also been detained.
All except one have been remanded in custody.
This is a gripping political drama, and one with several strands of allegations: rebellious MPs allegedly bought off to keep a government afloat, senior officials accused of being corrupted by shady businessmen, spy agencies illegally tasked with surveillance. But at the heart of it is a relationship between a politician and a trusted aide. It’s Borgen in Bohemia, with a bit of the West Wing – and perhaps The Thick Of It thrown in.
In his resignation speech, Petr Necas came close to admitting that his relationship with his chief of staff Jana Nagyova was not limited to the office. The prime minister told reporters he was fully aware of how the “twists and turns of his personal life” were encumbering the political situation. That’s putting it lightly. Ms Nagyova is now in custody charged with illegally ordering military intelligence to spy on several people, including the prime minister’s soon-to-be-ex-wife.
After four days of stress and exhaustion, for the first time Mr Necas looked relaxed, almost relieved. His party colleagues standing alongside him did not. One of them will now step forward to replace him – to lead a beleaguered party, a fractious coalition, and an unpopular government. Petr Necas, meanwhile, can begin sorting out his life.
President Milos Zeman has said the charges, brought after armed police raids on government and private offices on Wednesday, are “serious”.
Up to 150m koruna (£5m; $8m) in cash, tens of kilograms of gold and large quantities of documents were seized during the raids.
Detectives have said Ms Nagyova was suspected of bribing the former MPs with offers of posts in state-owned firms. It is alleged this was in exchange for them giving up their parliamentary seats.
Ms Nagyova – a close colleague of Mr Necas for nearly a decade – is also suspected of illegally ordering military intelligence to spy on three people.
Czech media reported that the targets included Mr Necas’s wife, Radka Necasova. Mr Necas announced this week that they were divorcing.
Mr Necas has rejected all the accusations against Ms Nagyova and the other five accused, saying: “I am personally convinced that I did not do anything dishonest and that my colleagues have not done anything dishonest either.”
However, he told a televised briefing in Prague when announcing his resignation on Sunday evening: “I am aware of my political responsibility.”
“I will tender my resignation as prime minister tomorrow.” he said. “The entire government will therefore resign with me.”
The opposition Social Democrats had warned they would press for a no-confidence motion in parliament unless Mr Necas stepped down, and the two other parties in his centre-right coalition had signalled that they could no longer support him.
The prime minister said the coalition would try to form a new government, led by a different person, to rule until elections scheduled for June 2014. He is expected to stay on as caretaker until it is installed.
Under the Czech constitution, President Zeman – a political rival – is under no obligation to respect the coalition’s wishes, and could name his own candidate to head an interim government until early elections are held,
Mr Necas also said on Sunday he would resign as his party’s chairman.
“I am fully aware how the twists and turns of my personal life are burdening the Czech political scene and the Civic Democratic Party,” he told the briefing.
BBC Prague correspondent Rob Cameron says the admission is the closest the prime minister has come to confirming that the woman at the heart of this scandal – Ms Nagyova – is more than just a colleague.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
what he does not like = PC = 73 = Unemployment. You’re fired. Tough times.
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