19 Jun 2013

Czech PM resigns amid scandal

9:28 am on 19 June 2013

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas resigned on Monday in an effort to end political turmoil over a corruption inquiry. His chief of staff is also under suspicion.

The coalition will try to form a new government led by someone nominated by his Civic Democratic Party.

Mr Necas announced on Sunday he would quit after prosecutors charged his chief of staff with corruption and abuse of power.

Two former MPs, an ex-minister and the current and former heads of military intelligence were also detained. All except one were remanded in custody.

"Mr President, in line with the constitution ... I resign," Mr Necas told President Milos Zeman on Monday.

President Zeman asked him to stay on as caretaker leader until a new administration is named.

The charges were brought after armed police raids on government and private offices on Wednesday.

The BBC reports up to 150 million koruna (£5 million) in cash, kilograms of gold and large quantities of documents were seized during the raids.

The prime minister's chief of staff, Jana Nagyova, 48, is suspected of bribing former MPs with offers of posts in State firms, in exchange for them giving up their parliamentary seats.

She faces five years in prison if convicted.

Mr Necas told a televised briefing that he was aware of his "political responsibility"

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, 47.

Mr Necas, 48, said last week he was getting a divorce after announcing in January that they had separated. They were married for 25 years.

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 said.

A BBC correspondent said 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.

Ms Nagyova's daughters Nikola and Stepanka posted photos to Facebook on Friday wearing T-shirts that expressed their support: "Love my mum!"