The Czech government is teetering amid a scandal involving a top prime ministrial aide. Partners in the center-right coalition led by Petr Necas (pictured) say they are considering whether to stay in government with him.
Center-left President Milos Zeman, a Necas rival, said on Saturday it was "rather clear" that the prime minister must step down amid a corruption scandal.
The opposition Social Democrats have put forward a draft no-confidence motion, which will likely take place on Tuesday.
This follows a ruling by a court in the eastern city of Ostrava that Jana Nagyova, Necas' chief of staff, be remanded in custody. On Friday, Nagyova was charged with complicity in the "abuse of power and bribery."
Seven other people, including military intelligence leaders and former lawmakers, have also been indicted for corruption, among other alleged crimes.
The junior coalition partners in Necas' minority government - the right-wing TOP 09 and liberal LIDEM - said they had to question the prime minister's integrity.
"The prime minister hasn't made things clear," LIDEM head Karolina Peake said. "We don't know if he was aware of the acts [by Nagyova], which would be a scandal."
Necas' Civic Democratic Party does not have enough seats in parliament to keep power alone, meaning if either of his junior coalition partners pulled out he would lose office.
The prime minister has said he will meet with his coalition partners on Sunday when he returns from a scheduled trip to Poland.
Prosecutors allege that Nagyova, 48, had bribed politicians and illegally ordered intelligence agents to spy on people in whom she had a personal interest, including Necas' wife Radka.
The scandal took off when some 400 police officers raided 31 different locations overnight Wednesday and Thursday, including the Cabinet office, Defense Ministry, villas and a bank. Authorities seized at least $6 million (4.5 million euros) in cash and tens of kilograms of gold.
It was the Czech Republic's biggest sweep against suspected criminal corruption in 20 years.
'Very serious' charges
"I consider the charges that have been brought to be very serious," Zeman said. "After hearing from the chief of police and the supreme state attorney, I am coming to the conclusion that they are based on sufficient evidence."
The prime minister's office issued a statement saying that Nagyova could no long carry on her job but that Necas had no knowledge of any of her alleged offenses, calling some of the charges "nonsense."
The Czech Republic has experienced numerous corruption scandals since splitting from Slovakia in 1993. The watchdog Transparency International ranked the country worse than Costa Rica and Rwanda in its 2012 "Corruption Perceptions Index."
dr/ipj (Reuters, AFP)