The federal government resigned Tuesday, state-run media reported, one day after a shake-up led the nation's premier and his deputy to step down.
The CTK news agency said the resignation of the entire government, a formality following Premier Lubomir Strougal's resignation, was announced in a letter to President Gustav Husak. Husak accepted the resignation and thanked the government for its work, CTK said.Strougal, a 63-year-old economics expert believed to have been Europe's longest-serving premier, resigned Monday, the first day of a meeting of the policy-making Central Committee dealing with personnel and ideology questions.
He also vacated his seat on the ruling Politburo.
His deputy in the federal government, Peter Colotka, resigned as premier of the Slovak Socialist Republic, one of the nation's two republics, and as a member of the Politburo.
In a speech to the Central Committee on Monday, Jan Fojtik, the Communist Party's chief ideologist, made clear that the Prague leadership was opposed to radical political and economic changes similar to those under way in the Soviet Union.
According to the text of his speech carried by CTK, Fojtik came out in favor of cautious reform and underscored the leading role of the party.
"One of the most fundamental lessons of the past is that in looking for and pursuing new ways of development, we must under no circumstances permit the weakening of the leading role of the Communist Party," Fojtik said.
Fojtik rejected criticism of Czechoslova-kia's hard-line approach to dissident movements.
"We must not close our eyes to any of the risks of reform," said the ideologist. "Superficial journalism, and here we are not speaking only about our own authors, makes light of some (of these problems) or passes them over in silence altogether while dramatizing others."
The shake-up follows similar government reorganizations in the Soviet Union, Hungary and Poland as well as unrest in Yugoslavia.
But a liberalization of political life in Czechoslovakia seemed unlikely.
In his speech to the Central Committee, party chief Milos Jakes made it clear that unlike in neighboring Hungary, independent human rights, ecological and other groups would not be allowed to operate.
He warned that formation and operation of "anti-Socialist political structures" will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted.
While considered a hard-liner supporting the crackdown on dissent and other harsh policies in earlier years, Strougal was most recently known as a chief advocate of economic and social reforms initiated in the Soviet Union.
However, his proposals were amended and watered down by a leadership that has so far been reluctant to adopt all the innovative changes that have become a trademark of Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
The names of Strougal, Colotka and Foreign Minister Bohuslav Chnoupek also came up in a corruption scandal last year.
Jakes, who become party chief in December, has said the fight against corruption would be among his priorities.
There have long been rumors about top-level changes in Czechoslovakia, and Jakes and other officials have indicated for some time that younger people would be promoted to senior positions.