PRAGUE – The Czech government has survived a parliamentary vote of no-confidence over a military deal investigators say was overpriced.
The opposition fell 12 votes short of the 101 needed to dismiss the center-right government late Wednesday, with only 89 legislators voting in favor of the motion while the same number opposed it.
It was the fourth such no-confidence vote the coalition government has survived since taking power in 2010.
Last week, Parliament's lower house stripped former defense minister Vlasta Parkanova of immunity from prosecution because police say she failed to order an official assessment of a proper price for four military transport aircraft purchased by the ministry. As a result, authorities say the country paid some $31 million too much.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, deputy chairman of Parkanova's conservative TOP 09 party, vehemently protested the investigation into her actions.
The opposition claimed Kalousek called top investigators in a bid to influence the probe, and it requested the no-confidence vote after Prime Minister Petr Necas refused to fire him.
Kalousek has admitted calling the investigators, though he did not admit to trying to influence the investigation.
Necas acknowledged Wednesday the calls were a mistake, but, in a heated debate, rejected the idea that there was any political influence on the investigation. The prime minister insisted that "nobody in the Czech Republic is obstructing or blocking any investigation of criminal acts, including corruption."