Petr Necas

Tim Gosling and Nicholas Watson in Prague

A bribery and spying scandal that exploded onto television screens last week in a series of police raids on the prime minister’s office and other ministries has forced Czech premier Petr Necas to resign, in a move which will automatically bring down his government.

The resignation leaves his party and its partners scrambling to form a new centre-right coalition administration. But with the new leftist President Milos Zeman in office and an opposition riding high in the polls, early elections look increasingly likely. 

The Czechs have become regional specialists in drawn-out and inconclusive political crises, the latest iteration of which saw premier Petr Necas (left) on Wednesday push through a controversial tax increase that was also a vote of confidence in his coalition government.