Czech Minister Resigns as Opposition Seeks No-Confidence Vote

The Czech Environment Minister resigned amid allegations of wrongdoing in a public tender as the opposition Social Democrats demanded a no-confidence vote against the five-month old government.

An adviser to minister Pavel Drobil interfered with a public-procurement tender to secure financing for his Civic Democratic Party, which is led by Prime Minister Petr Necas, the newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes reported today, citing recordings it obtained.

Drobil said that while he was innocent, he would stepping down after parliament voted on the 2011 budget. Necas said he trusted his fellow Cabinet member and the three ruling parties said they will support the government if a no-confidence motion is held.

“As the main opposition party, we can’t be satisfied with the inadequate reaction of the prime minister,” Social Democrat acting leader Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists in Prague today. “Parliament will still be in session next week, so there’s room for the vote then.”

The coalition has 118 lawmakers in the 200-seat lower house, the biggest majority since the Czech Republic came into existence in 1993. The country has a history of no-confidence votes and government breakups. It has had two minority governments and two interim Cabinets in the past 12 years.

“There is no reason to vote against the government,” Karolina Peake, deputy chairwoman of Public Affairs, the smallest Cabinet party, said in an interview in parliament.

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