Czech Republic

President refuses to accept resignations


President Vaclav Klaus has refused to accept the resignations of three ministers saying that he wants a clearer picture of how the government will operate without them.

The crisis began last week when Transport Minister Vit Barta, leader of the Public Affairs Party tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Petr Necas following allegations of corruption and mixing private business with political affairs.

Subsequently the Prime Minister decided to sack Interior Minister Radek John and Josef Dobes, Minister for Education, Youth & Sport, respectively Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Public Affairs Party.

The Public Affairs Party (VV), which has 24 MPs is part of the coalition government which also includes the Civic Democrats (ODS) with 53 seats and TOP09 which has 41 seats. The three parties hold 118 of the 200 seats in the parliament and if the Public Affairs Party were to break away the remaining parties would be in a minority coalition with 94 seats.

The Czech Republic has gone through several periods of instability due to difficulty in forming governments and it is this which the President wishes to avoid.

The current government is trying to push through austerity measures which require stability between the coalition partners. The Public Affairs party has threatened to withdraw support from the government if the removal of its ministers are not matched by the dismissal of minister from the other two parties who have also been accused of corruption.

In addition to these problems, the Prime Minister has received an offer of resignation from Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra who has been accused of involvement in another scandal.

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