5 European news stories you missed this week
PUBLISHED: 09:48 07 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:06 07 May 2017
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Czech government set to resign over finance ministers business dealings
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The Czech prime minister has unexpectedly announced that his government will resign over unexplained business dealings by his rival Andrej Babis, the country’s finance minister.
Premier Bohuslav Sobotka said he will meet President Milos Zeman this week to formally submit the government’s resignation.
The move reflects tensions in the ruling coalition about six months ahead of parliamentary elections.
Sobotka said there are suspicions that Babis, the country’s second richest businessman, had avoided paying taxes in the past. Doubts have also surfaced about how he gained his wealth.
Babis heads a centrist movement that is favourite to win October’s ballot, paving the way for him to become prime minister.
He has denied any wrongdoing.
Sobotka’s Social Democrats are a distant second, and the Christian Democrats are the third member of the coalition created in 2014.
The premier said it would be an option to fire Babis but that would mean his rival would be given extra time to campaign ahead of the vote.
“That’s the reason I’m opting for the only reasonable solution which is available, and that’s the government’s resignation,” he said during a hastily organised news conference. A trust of the public in politics is at stake.”
He said the move will give the coalition a chance to form a government again, but without Babis. Another option is for parliament to call early elections.
Babis, the most popular government politician, called the move “incomprehensible”, and said the premier had damaged everything the government has done.
“Sobotka destroys everything,” Babis said. “The government was successful, we had results. I reject his nonsense.”
The president plays a key role in a crisis like this because he has the right to select a new prime minister.
Babis’s centrist movement came in a surprise second in 2013 parliamentary elections with an anti-corruption
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