Czech Education Minister Petr Gazdík announced his resignation on Sunday following revelations that he attended several meetings with organized crime boss Michal Redl.
Along with Gazdík, who also served as a deputy chair of the Mayors and Independents (STAN) party, Czech MEP Stanislav Polčák (EPP) was also in touch with Redl. His political future is now also in question and will be addressed by the Prague organisation of STAN this week.
On Wednesday (15 June), Deputy Mayor of Prague Petr Hlubuček (STAN) and ten other people were charged with bribery and organised crime linked to the Prague Transport Company.
The scandal is particularly painful for STAN as the centre-right party performed well in last year’s general elections and became the third strongest political party in the Czech parliament.
The State Prosecutor’s Office has begun investigating a leak of documents from the corruption investigation, Czech Justice Minister Pavel Blažek confirmed the news on Twitter on Sunday, saying he would inform the government about the circumstances of the case on Wednesday.
On 1 July, the Czech Republic is taking over the Council of the EU Presidency.
“My contacts with some people cast a shadow over the STAN movement. I do not want to shake the government or the coalition on the verge of the EU Presidency,” Gazdík said in his resignation.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala welcomed Gazdík’s resignation. He sees Gazdík’s decision as a signal of the change in Czech political culture that his governing coalition wants to promote after the rule of former prime minister and billionaire Andrej Babiš, who is facing charges related to EU subsidy fraud.