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South Bohemia governor Jiří Zimola resigns

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Ceske Budejovice, South Bohemia, April 27 (CTK) – The governor of the South Bohemia Region, Jiri Zimola (Social Democrats, CSSD), resigned as expected and was replaced with his deputy Ivana Straska (CSSD) at the special meeting of the regional assembly yesterday.

Zimola said he had stepped down because he did not want to prevent the creation of a new regional coalition, comprised of the CSSD, Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), the South Bohemians 2012 and For South Bohemia groupings.

He was elected to the head of South Bohemia in 2008, 2012 and again in 2016. He was involved in the abortive “Lany coup,” a meeting between some CSSD senior officials and President Milos Zeman after the 2013 general election, aimed to topple Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD), was called.

Zimola was forced to resign by a scandal over a recreation house in Lipno nad Vltavou, south Bohemia, built for him by Martin Blaha, head of the board of the South Bohemian Hospitals company, operated by the region.

The opposition also pointed out that Blaha has an income of 7.2 million crowns annually, which it considers excessive. Blaha said last week he will resign.

Zimola said the scandal had been orchestrated by some members of the party board. Sobotka has dismissed the allegation.

“I have decided to resign, although I am not being prosecuted over anything,” Zimola said.

“In fact, the whole affair related to hospitals, the golden egg, to which the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) lost a link,” he added.

“The whole political farce was orchestrated in order to form a coalition of ANO and the ODS that would privatise hospitals,” Zimola said, adding that his departure was also backed by some Social Democrats.

The previous regional government collapsed over the ANO movement’s withdrawal from it due to Zimola’s scandal.

($1=24.735 crowns)

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