Government on brink of collapse as Public Affairs makes demands

The Public Affairs party will leave the government if Prime Minister Nečas does not meet certain demands. After a seven-hour meeting on Wednesday, the party's gremium ordered its ministers to leave the government by May 1 if the Prime Minister does not agree almost immediately to resolve a number of issues and affairs that the party says has damaged the credibility of the government. The basis for the gremium's vote on whether to remain in government was the recent release of a taped telephone conversation between two party officials which suggested that members of the senior coalition party, the Civic Democrats, had attempted to orchestrate a coup within Public Affairs.

Prime Minister Nečas responded to the public annoucement by saying he refused blackmail and ultimatums and expects the junior coalition party to bring their complaints to him personally, rather than through the media. Public Affairs, he said, was alone responsible for the lack of trust in government. Should the government collapse, he said he would support the scheduling of early elections as quickly as possible - an option also voiced by Miroslav Kalousek, deputy chair of the other party in the coalition, TOP 09.