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Czech government survives no-confidence vote over energy crisis

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By Euronews  with AP, DPA
Czech Republic's Prime Minister Petr Fiala speaks to the media at the EU headquarters in Brussels.
Czech Republic's Prime Minister Petr Fiala speaks to the media at the EU headquarters in Brussels.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File   -  

The Czech Republic’s coalition government has survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote over its handling of the energy crisis.

Opposition MPs had called a motion, accusing the government of not doing enough to help people and businesses cope with the high prices for electricity and natural gas.

But only 84 lawmakers voted to oust the cabinet on Friday, 17 votes short of the majority needed.

The motion took place as the landlocked country holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

Liberal-conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala has been in office since November and has defended his government's plan to support households by an average of 15,000 Czech koruna (€612) this coming winter.

Fiala also says that the five-party coalition was working on further steps to ease the financial pressure on citizens and would call an emergency EU meeting next week to discuss a united solution.

Opposition parties had also called for the resignation of Petr Mlejnek, the head of the Czech Office for Foreign Relations and Information, due to his contacts with a businessman facing corruption charges over the Prague transport company.

Mlejnek has denied wrongdoing but resigned from his post on Wednesday.

Lawmakers from the centrist ANO movement are now demanding the departure of Interior Minister Vít Rakušan, who appointed Mlejnek and has backed him.

The ANO's leader, former Czech PM Andrej Babiš, has accused the cabinet of being a "government of national disaster".

But Fiala has stressed that every minister in his cabinet enjoys his full support. Babiš himself is to face trial in an EU subsidy fraud case in September.