Alexandr Vondra steps down as defence minister


Alexandr Vondra has announced he is stepping down as Czech defence minister. Mr. Vondra made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, saying he had lost the trust of voters, who did not re-elect him to the Senate in elections in October. He will officially take his leave at the end of next week. His position had previously been weakened by a scandal surrounding overspending on the Czech EU presidency in 2009, when he was deputy prime minister for European affairs. Mr. Vondra, who is 51, was a dissident and Charter 77 signatory and spent two months in jail in 1989 for organising an anti-communist demonstration.