The resignation of Minister of the Environment Pavel Drobil (Civic Democrats, ODS) was accepted by President Václav Klaus on Dec. 21, the presidential press service reported.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas (ODS) personally handed Drobil’s resignation to Klaus, during the president’s meeting with leaders of the three-party governing coalition.
Drobil offered his resignation Dec. 15 after the daily Mladá fronta Dnes published details of secret recordings in which Martin Knetig, an adviser to Drobil, suggested that money should be siphoned from a tender financed by the State Environmental Fund (SFŽP). The money was to go into ODS coffers specifically to advance Drobil’s political career.
When Drobil found out about the tapes, he allegedly attempted to cover up the scandal up by dismissing both Knetig and SFŽP director Libor Michálek, who made the recordings.
The scandal has caused a rift in the ruling coalition. The junior coalition party Public Affairs (VV) ran on anti-corruption platform and has been critical of the handling of the issue and prompted the main opposition Social Democrats (ČSSD) to call for a no-confidence vote in the lower house of Parliament.
Before accepting the resignation, Klaus said he was reluctant to do so. “I would be glad if this was all turned around and was resolved so that he [Drobil] would not have to stand down,” Klaus said on Dec. 19 on the Partie TV program airing on commercial station TV Prima. He said at that time he had not yet officially received the resignation.