Freedom Union MP claims Civic Democrats offered bribe to bring down government

Freedom Union deputy Zdenek Koristka has said he was offered a large bribe by the opposition Civic Democrats not to support the government in a vote of confidence next Tuesday. Mr Koristka told Friday's edition of the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes a person acting on behalf of the Civic Democrats had offered him 10 million crowns (over 300,000 euros), a claim which has been strenuously denied by the party. Chairman Mirek Topolanek said he was considering filing charges of slander against Mr Koristka, who said he rejected the alleged bribe but did not report the matter to the police at the time. He has since been questioned.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, Lubomir Zaoralek said the affair cast doubt on the credibility of Parliament, and Tuesday's vote of confidence might have to be postponed. The government has a majority of just one in the 200-seat Lower House.

Author: Ian Willoughby