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April 20, 2021

Czech prime minister forced to resign over scandal hit-aide

The Czech prime minister, Petr Necas, has been forced to quit after a fraud and spying scandal involving his closest aide, pitching the European Union member state into a period of uncertainty, the Guardian reports. Under the Czech constitution, the whole government will now have to step down, and there is likely to be horse-trading between the governing coalition, the opposition and the president before a replacement is in place. Necas quit days after prosecutors charged the head of his office, Jana Nagyova, with bribing members of parliament and ordering intelligence agents to spy on people. One of the surveillance targets, according to lawyers involved in the case, was the prime minister’s own wife, whom he is divorcing. Necas has said he knew nothing about the surveillance, but the charges were so toxic that his coalition partners signalled they could no longer support him. Necas told a news conference that he would officially resign on Monday.
He said his party would try to form a new government, led by a different person, to rule until a scheduled election next year. However, it was unclear if his coalition partners or the president, Milos Zeman, would back that. Necas and his administration will stay on as caretakers until a new government is installed. President Milos Zeman will have an important say in who takes over. If after three attempts there is no viable government, or the parliament agrees to dissolve itself, an early election will be held.

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