Czech deputy quit cabinet to yield to pressure from PM
Czech Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek resigned from the minority centre-right cabinet.
Czech Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek resigned from the minority centre-right cabinet on Monday, yielding to pressure from Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and his own party and easing tensions in the ruling coalition.
Cunek said his Christian Democrats, a junior partner in the the three-party government, would stay in the administration which assumed the rotating European Union presidency this month. "The way our quarrelling party looks to the public ... would permanently damage us and that is the reason I quit," Cunek told a news conference.
He said Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova would assume the post of deputy prime minister. Cunek will retain his post of Christian Democrat chief.
Topolanek, whose cabinet has suffered a series of defections in parliament and now controls only 96 out of the 200 seats in the lower house, has tried to oust the highly unpopular Cunek but could not fire him easily due to coalition agreements.
Cunek's popularity never recovered from allegations he took a bribe in the 1990s despite the investigation being dropped.
The cabinet has faced repeated no-confidence motions but has so far survived thanks to support from independent deputies.
Reuters Last Mod: 12 Ocak 2009, 12:33