Tables turn on Civic Democrats in ongoing government crisis
The Czech government has found itself is in an ever deepening crisis, and it is unclear whether it will be able to right its course or whether the coalition will fall, paving the way for early elections. Over the last 24 hours, coalition negations yielded few results, while new evidence emerged suggesting that the crisis may have been the result of sabotage by rebel MPs as well as members of the coalition leading Civic Democrats.
The crisis reached an apparent tipping point on Wednesday, when it came to light that a faction of the Civic Democratic Party, the coalition leader, may have actually planned and provoked the current situation with rebels within Public Affairs. Kristýna Kočí, who was a top member of Public Affairs and helped start the affair with accusations that the party paid her for her loyalty, was secretly recorded by colleagues, telling them that the sabotage of Public Affairs had been in preparation ever since last summer, and that it had been planned in concert with at least a faction of the Civic Democratic Party.
Prime Minister Nečas, as chairman of the Civic Democrats, has said the speculations are absurd, that the publication of the recording is meant only to distract from the situation around Public Affairs and ABL. But the chairman of the TOP 09 party, Karel Schwarzenberg, has said that it is likely that a faction within the Civic Democratic Party has been actively working against Public Affairs, as both parties are divided and working on their own agendas.
President Klaus offered the following reaction to the story’s new twist:
“The events of this afternoon have gone beyond any tolerable boundaries, my patience is exhausted, and all signals show that the patience of the Czech public is exhausted. The methods being used on our political scene – wiretapping, secret recording, targeted lying, mutual accusations that are then denied, and a great many other things – have fundamentally expanded the dimensions of this government crisis, and have seriously degraded public confidence in this government and in our political system. Things cannot continue like this. As president, I can no longer passively observe these attempts to disrupt the political system.”
Talks between the coalition members have been almost ongoing since Wednesday afternoon, but without any breakthrough to speak of. Thursday, the three coalition leaders were summoned to Prague Castle by the president, and after 45 minutes they removed to the prime minister’s residence for more talks. No one in the press has been privy to much of what has been said behind all these doors. Mr Nečas has mentioned only that there are a number of possible outcomes, and Public Affairs only that they find them unacceptable.