by Tony Iozzo
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe
PRAGUE, Czech Republic – Petr Necas stepped down as Prime Minister of the Czech Republic on Sunday after his top aide has been heavily implicated in a bribery and spying scandal.
Mr. Necas’ chief of staff, Jana Nagyova, has been charged with bribing members of parliament and giving orders to intelligence agents to spy on certain individuals. Nagyova allegedly offered government posts to these members of parliament, contingent upon relinquishing their parliamentary seats. She then allegedly ordered military intelligence to spy on three people.
The charges were brought after armed police raids in which roughly 400 police officers searched government offices, bank safes, and 31 different houses. Approximately $6 million in cash and tens of kilograms of gold were seized during the raids.
Seven other individuals were also arrested in connection with the bribery scandal, including the current and former heads of military intelligence, and former lawmakers in Necas’ Civic Democratic Party.
The Prime Minister is reported to be involved on a personal level in addition to his professional relation to the case. One of the spy targets in the scandal is said to be Necas’ wife, Radka, whom he is now divorcing. Though Necas has denied any sort of personal relationship with Nagyova, he stated upon his resignation, “I am fully aware how the twists and turns of my personal life are burdening the Czech political scene and the Civic Democratic Party.”
Necas has maintained his innocence as well as his party’s, however, stating: “I am personally convinced that I did not do anything dishonest and that my colleagues have not done anything dishonest either.”
Members of Necas’ coalition had indicated that they could no longer support him amidst the scandal, and members of the opposition Social Democrats coalition planned to raise a “no-confidence” motion in parliament. The resignation, which will send the country into a period of political uncertainty, will necessarily induce the entire government to step down as well, pursuant to the Czech Constitution.
Necas has stated that his coalition would attempt to form a new government with new leadership, to take charge until June 2014 and new elections. However, the Czech President Milos Zeman, a member of the Social Democrats, is not obligated to agree with Necas’ recommendations and can name his own interim government. Reports indicate that President Zeman has asked Necas to remain a “caretaker” until a new administration is in place.
This raid was a part of a larger anti-corruption operation, the largest the country has had since Czech dissident Vaclav Havel led a “Velvet Revolution” that overthrew Communist rule over 20 years ago. Since this revolution, however, the Czech Republic has experienced great corruption.
For more information, please see:
BBC News – Czech PM Petr Necas Resigns Over Aide Scandal – 17 June 2013
The Independent – Czech PM Petr Necas to Resign: ‘Mr. Clean Hands’ to Quit in Effort to End Political Turmoil Over Aide Spying and Corruption Scandal – 17 June 2013
Al Jazeera – Czech PM Resigns Amid Aide Scandal – 16 June 2013
New York Times – Czech Premier to Resign Amid Scandal – 16 June 2013
Reuters – Czech Prime Minister Steps Down After Graft Scandal – 16 June 2013
Impunity Watch – Czech President Impeached and Charged With Treason For Amnesty – 4 March 2013