Czech PM withdraws resignation, wants finance minister sacked

The move deepened a political crisis triggered by Sobotka's shock resignation announcement earlier this week amid a high-stakes row with Finance Minister Andrej Babis.

Czech PM withdraws resignation, wants finance minister sacked

World Bulletin / News Desk

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka withdrew his planned resignation on Friday, calling instead for the dismissal of his billionaire finance minister, a popular political rival, over suspicions of fraud.

The 62-year-old Babis is head of the centrist ANO party which is tipped to win parliamentary elections scheduled for October 20-21 in the EU and NATO member of more than 10 million people.

"I will not present my resignation. I will soon ask the president of the republic to recall the finance minister," Sobotka told reporters in Prague.

Sobotka changed his mind about quitting after President Milos Zeman made it clear he would opt to only replace him as prime minister and leave intact the rest of the government, including his arch-rival Babis.

Last week Czech media reports had been rife with speculation that Sobotka, who heads the flagging CSSD Social Democrats, was poised to sack Babis himself.

But saying he did not want to make the tycoon look like a "martyr", Sobotka tendered his entire government's resignation instead, a move that appears to have badly backfired on him. 

Presidential spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said Friday that Zeman "was in no rush" to push through changes, adding that he would be travelling from May 9-18, including a visit to China.

"We'll analyse the situation after that," he added.

Last Mod: 05 Mayıs 2017, 17:16
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