Michal Kraus returns to top politics

The former head of the Social Democrats' parliamentary group of deputies, Michal Kraus, has returned to top politics more than a year after resigning his seat in parliament following a corruption scandal. Mr Kraus resigned from the Lower House in January 2006 when it emerged that he had taken part in the dubious purchase of a cocoa factory in Ghana with a man serving a ten year sentence for fraud. Mr Kraus has now been re-elected to the Social Democrat leadership. Social Democrat chairman Mr Paroubek said that the investigation of the so-called "cocoa affair" was now drawing to a close and that if - as expected - no charges were brought against Mr Kraus then there was nothing to stop him continuing to have a career in politics.

In a pointed reference to Christian Democrat leader Jiri Cunek, who is under investigation on corruption charges, Mr Paroubek said that Michal Kraus "had behave like a real man" in the way he handled last year's scandal. Mr Cunek is currently accused by police of having accepted a bribe while he was mayor of the town of Vsetin five years ago, but has so far resisted all calls to resign.

Author: Coilin O'Connor