Czech leader sacks minister over budget

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 27, 2012 6:00 AM

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic's austerity-minded prime minister, Petr Necas, sacked Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil on Wednesday, saying that he acted irresponsibly over his budget.

Necas said his decision to sack Pospisil followed a demand from him for a one billion crown ($48 million) increase for his ministry's budget next year, at a time when the center-right government is slashing costs to meet fiscal limits prescribed by the European Union.

"This move had a demoralizing effect on the entire government," Necas said.

Necas' administration plans to cut the public sector shortfall to 2.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) next year from an expected 3.0 percent this year, a task which is becoming more difficult as the economy slides into a mild recession, hitting budget revenue.

Its austerity measures have angered the public along with a string of corruption scandals that have led to several ministers having to quit the government. ($1 = 20.7962 Czech crowns)

(Reporting by Robert Mueller, Writing by Jana Mlcochova; Editing by Angus MacSwan)