Czech Premier Resigns Amid Finance Scandal

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Battered by a campaign finance scandal, Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus resigned Saturday after half of his 16-member Cabinet quit.

“I have decided to resign from the post of premier, and that means the whole government steps down,” Klaus said, adding that he will have no part in any future Cabinet.

His move followed a public demand Saturday from President Vaclav Havel that he quit.

It was the first time Havel had taken a public stand after months of pressure for Klaus’ resignation.


The opposition to Klaus intensified last week when the premier’s party admitted receiving a hefty donation from a businessman who acquired a large stake in a steel firm privatized by Klaus’ government.

Earlier Saturday, the small Civic Democratic Alliance said it was quitting Klaus’ Cabinet. On Friday, the Christian Democrats announced that they were pulling out their four ministers.

Klaus was pressured to quit over a $220,000 campaign donation in late 1995 from businessman Milan Srejber, who concealed the donation by using the names of a dead Hungarian and an obscure Mauritian as the donors.