PM Nečas refusing to step down
In a speech to Parliament on Friday, Prime Minister Petr Nečas said that he would not step down over the ongoing scandal involving some of his closest associates at the Office of the Government. Reacting to a sweep of government offices and the detention of a number of high-ranking officials by the Organized Crime Unit on Thursday, the premier slammed the police for what he called a “theatrical operation” which he said was damaging to the reputation of the Czech Military Intelligence Service and the whole of the Czech Republic. With regard to the charges of bribery levelled against two former Civic Democrat MPs, the prime minister defended the practice of non-monetary political bartering, which he said was standard practice in politics anywhere.
The vice- chairman of the ruling TOP 09 party, Miroslav Kalousek, expressed support for the prime minister saying he saw no reason for the government to resign if Mr. Nečas dismisses the suspected individuals from the Office of the Government. Opposition MPs called for immediate resignation of the Prime Minister and early parliamentary elections. In the evening, chairwoman of the third coalition party LIDEM, Karolína Peake, said that she is expecting the prime minister to give a detailed explanation of his aide’s actions, and added that her confidence in Mr. Nečas has dropped “below the freezing point”.