Czech PM, entire cabinet to resign after finance minister row1 min read . Updated: 02 May 2017, 08:52 PM IST
Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka said he would resign along with the whole cabinet in response to a row with finance minister Andrej Babis over his past business activities
Prague: Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday he would resign later this week along with the whole cabinet in response to a row with finance minister Andrej Babis over his past business activities.
Sobotka said the resignation could allow his three-party centre-left cabinet to regroup without Babis, a billionaire who entered politics in 2011, or possibly lead to an early national election ahead of regular polls planned for 20-21October.
He had demanded that Babis explain his financial dealings, including using legal loopholes to issue tax-free bonds.
Babis has denied any wrongdoing. A spokeswoman for his ANO movement was not immediately available for comment and a finance ministry spokesman declined to comment.
The dispute came as parties geared up for the October elections, in which polls predict a sound victory for ANO.
“I cannot as prime minister further bear responsibility for a situation where a person whose past is unclear is in the position of finance minister," Sobotka said.
“Therefore I am taking the only reasonable solution, which is that the government resigns."
Sobotka was widely-expected to fire Babis but leave the cabinet in place. But he said dismissing Babis would help make him into a “martyr".
Babis’s centrist ANO movement leads Sobotka’s centre-left Social Democrats by a double-digit margin in most opinion polls.
Resignation gives the initiative to President Milos Zeman, who has the power to appoint a new prime minister. An early election can be called if ruling and opposition parties in parliament agree to bring the vote forward.
Sobotka said he would seek a meeting with Zeman to agree timing for the resignation.