Czech Cabinet survives no-confidence vote on energy prices

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic’s coalition government has survived a parliamentary vote of no confidence over its handling of the energy crisis and a scandal involving the head of one of the country’s spy agencies.

Lawmakers from the five-party coalition, which has a majority in the lower house of parliament, rejected the motion on Friday after a debate that lasted around 10 p.m. Only 84 lawmakers in the 200-seat house backed him.

The opposition, including the centrist ANO movement led by populist former prime minister Andrej Babis and the anti-migrant Freedom and Direct Democracy party, accused the coalition of not doing enough to help individuals and businesses make in the face of high electricity and natural gas prices.

The government says it has introduced a plan to support households by some 15,000 Czech crowns ($611) on average over the coming winter and is working on new measures to ease the financial strain.

The government also plans to convene an emergency meeting of European Union countries next week to seek a unified approach to the issue. The Czech Republic currently holds the bloc’s rotating presidency.

Separately, Petr Mlejnek, the head of the Foreign Relations and Information Office, resigned on Wednesday amid allegations of contact with a businessman who faces corruption charges. He denies wrongdoing.

Opposition lawmakers are demanding the removal of Interior Minister Vit Rakusan, who appointed Mlejnek and supported him.

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