Crisis talks after scandal ousts Czech government

President in talks with party leaders following allegations of government corruption

The Czech Republic centre-right Civic Democrat party’s candidate for prime minister, Miroslava Nemcova, speaks to the media in the village of Lany, near Prague, yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/David W Cerny

The Czech Republic centre-right Civic Democrat party’s candidate for prime minister, Miroslava Nemcova, speaks to the media in the village of Lany, near Prague, yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/David W Cerny

 


Czech president Milos Zeman is holding crisis talks with party leaders after a lurid corruption scandal forced the resignation of prime minister Petr Necas and his government.

Mr Necas stepped down last Monday, following police raids at government headquarters, the defence ministry and private businesses and homes.

They resulted in the arrest of Jana Nagyova, who ran his office, the current and former heads of military intelligence and three ex-deputies.

Ms Nagyova is accused of asking military intelligence to perform illegal surveillance on several people – including Mr Necas’ estranged wife – while the former deputies for his party are suspected of corruption. The raids, conducted by hundreds of police officers, also led to the seizure of up to €6 million in cash and tens of kilogrammes of gold.

Mr Necas announced this month that he was divorcing his wife, amid widespread media speculation over his relationship with longtime colleague Ms Nagyova. He and his cabinet are still running the country in a caretaker capacity, until a new government can be found or snap elections held.

Mr Zeman met leading figures from Mr Necas’ centre-right Civic Democrat party (ODS) yesterday, to discuss their proposal that he nominate a new prime minister in a bid to avoid bringing forward elections scheduled for next year. The ODS named current parliamentary speaker Miroslava Nemcova as their candidate for premier.

If Mr Zeman accepts her nomination, she and her government must be approved by a majority in parliament. However, the opposition Social Democrats are demanding snap elections.