Embattled former mayor suspends party membership
Former Prague mayor and MP Pavel Bém, of the Civic Democratic Party, has heeded calls from fellow members to suspend his party membership. In a written statement issued on Monday evening, Mr Bém confirmed he would take the step in the wake of the on-going “lobbying scandal” that has raised serious questions about his tenure.
“I think that it was the only viable step to take and I am very glad that Mr Bém heard my appeal... A politician [on whom doubt has been cast] has to defend himself and can’t bring the party, for which he was elected, into it. This is a fundamental principle for me.”
Critics, though, have charged that without the highly-unexpected release of secret recordings and their publication in Mladá fronta Dnes last week, the party would be doing nothing at all. The argument goes that there must have been some among the Civic Democrats who knew what had gone on in the past, but took no steps. Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, disagrees, drawing a contrast in no-uncertain terms between the former City Hall and his:
For his part, Pavel Bém insists he has done nothing wrong, and maintained the accusations are preposterous. The matter is now being investigated and the former mayor expressed the conviction that within six months his name will be cleared as a more complete picture emerges.