Czech prosecutors withdrew bribery charges on Friday against three former members of Parliament, dealing a blow to a sweeping anticorruption case that forced the collapse of the government last month.
The three lawmakers, who had been rebelling against the previous government's austerity plan, had been accused of accepting posts at state firms in return for quelling their dissent and leaving Parliament.
But the chief prosecutor, Pavel Zeman, annulled the charges on Friday after the Czech Supreme Court ruled last week that the three were protected by parliamentary immunity. The accusations against the officials had spurred a national debate about whether the accepting of the state posts constituted a crime or was merely an unsavory political deal.
Last month, the prime minister, Petr Necas, was forced to step down after his chief of staff, Jana Nagyova, was accused of abuse of office for ordering the secret services to spy on Mr. Necas's estranged wife, whom he is divorcing. He eventually admitted that he was having an affair with Ms. Nagyova, but both denied any wrongdoing.
Prosecutors have also investigated accusations that Mr. Necas had a role in granting state jobs to the former parliamentary members, but no charges have been brought against him.
The investigations are all part of the most extensive anticorruption inquiry since the end of communism in 1989. The anticorruption campaign has shaken the Czech Republic and ushered in a period of political instability.world
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.