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Czech Republic: Necas Steps Back

Published: June 17, 2013; 13:41 · (Vindobona)

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas draws the conclusion from his corruption scandal and announced to step back.

Czech Republic: Necas Steps Back / Picture: © Vindobona.org

"I will resign as prime minister tomorrow.” Necas told a news conference after a meeting with the leading management of his liberal-conservative Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and other party leaders of the coalition on Sunday evening. "I am aware fully aware how the twists and turns of my personal life are burdening the Czech political scene and the Civic Democratic Party," he said referring to the allegations of corruption and spying. On Thursday three high-ranking representatives of the military intelligence service, Necas’ long-standing head of office Jana Jagyova and three former ODS party members were arrested during a police raid and remanded in custody. The spying scandal involves Necas’ wife Radka, who had become a victim after Nagyova ordered the monitoring at the military intelligence service. Necas and his wife have filed for divorce in January.

Necas and his administration will stay on as caretakers until a new government is appointed. He is in favor of the current coalition with his ODS party, the liberal-conservative party TOP 09 of Foreign Minist Karel Schwarzenberg and LIDEM party by deputy head of government Karolina Peake until new elections next year. President Milos Zeman will have an important say in who takes over. If after three attempts there is no practicable government, or the parliament agrees to dissolve itself, an early election will be held. The media has been hypothesizing about deputy head of ODS and Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Kuba becoming Necas’ successor. Kuba announced to be ready, when asked.

The Czech opposition, however, rejects a simple reshaping of the cabinet and demands early elections. New elections would have been carried out in spring next year. The resignation of the head of government would include the demission of the whole cabinet.

The successor of the outgoing Prime Minister was planned to be decided on during the board meeting of ODS on Monday at noon. It is still unclear whether Zeman will agree to the plans or not. Necas will hand over his resigantion to President Zeman in the afternoon.

On Saturday, the court in Ostrava, in the east of the country, has decided that Nagyova has to remain in custody. She is alleged of having bribed politicians and used secret service illegally to spy on people.  Nagyova rejects some of the accusations and argues in others that she acted in good faith.

The anti-corruption operation that brought down Necas was the biggest in the Czech Republic in twenty years. About 400 police officers searched government offices, bank safe deposits and other locations, organized 31 house searches and seized at least $ 6m in cash and tens of kilograms of gold. It has not been disclosed who the assets belonged to. Many Czech citizens believe that corruption is omnipresent in their country but a top politician is rarely held responsible for his offences.