Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has announced that he will submit his government’s resignation later this week because of a disagreement with Finance Minister Andrej Babiš.
Sobotka said that he would meet President Miloš Zeman this week to formally submit the government’s resignation.
The announcement comes less than six months before parliamentary elections.
Babiš is a rival of Sobotka’s and heads a centrist movement that is a favorite to win October’s ballot, paving the way for him to become prime minister. He previously denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign.
“It is unacceptable for a finance minister to be unable to unequivocally prove where his assets came from and whether he is properly paying taxes on his large income,” Sobotka told reporters in Prague. Refraining from dismissing Babis to avoid “turning him into a martyr,” Sobotka said “I cannot bear responsibility as the prime minister in this situation any longer.”
Babiš, the most popular government politician, called the move “incomprehensible.” “Sobotka destroys everything,” Babiš told Czech public radio. “The government was successful, we had results.”
Centrist ANO party is far ahead of Sobotka’s centre-left CSSD in the opinion polls, our correspondent says, and this act of brinksmanship will be seen very much as pre-election maneuvering.