Thursday, 23 March 2017

Christian Democrats approve election coalition with STAN

ČTK |
20 March 2017

Jihlava, South Moravia, March 18 (CTK) - The Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) will run in the autumn Czech general election in a coalition with the Mayors and Independents (STAN), the party decided on Saturday by a narrow majority of the vote.

In a secret vote, 39 delegates supported the idea and 31 were against it.

The STAN leadership approved the coalition agreement this morning and its national conference is to confirm the decision next weekend.

"We have got the draft coalition agreement and we have approved the basic parameters today," KDU-CSL leader Pavel Belobradek told journalists.

"We decided that we want to form a pre-election coalition with the Mayors. In this coalition, we want to win the support of the 30 percent of voters who wish neither right-wing liberalism nor left-wing politics nor non-standard populists," he said.

Belobradek said the conditions of the coalition still need to be discussed. However, the two parties have the same position on most of the issues and they share the same values, he added.

The draft agreement includes the names of regional election leaders. STAN chairman Petr Gazdik said earlier on Saturday the KDU-CSL would have eight regional leaders and the STAN six.

The threshold to enter the Chamber of Deputies is 5 percent of the vote for a party, but if two parties form an alliance, they must get at least 10 percent to succeed. This is why a part of the KDU-CSL politicians opposed the planned coalition.

KDU-CSL deputy chairwoman Zuzana Roithova said the fear that the coalition would not cross the 10-percent threshold were baseless.

She said both parties together can expect to win 500,000 voters, which is well above the threshold.

"But our ambition is higher," Roithova said, adding that the coalition wants to win at least 15 percent of the vote.

The latest STEM opinion poll released on Friday indicated that the junior ruling Christian Democrats would win over 6 percent of the vote, while the STAN only 2 percent. At this moment, this would mean that the KDU-CSL would enter parliament if it ran independently but not if it ran together with the STAN.

Election models of polling agencies produced slightly different results. Moreover, both parties were successful in the regional and Senate elections last autumn.

Belobradek said the possibility of the KDU-CSL withdrawing from the deal with STAN is only theoretical.

He said the coalition offers a pro-European, constructive and stable alternative.

Belobradek said a model of cooperation similar model to the German Union parties (CDU/CSU) may be established in the Czech Republic.

The CDU/CSU are two independent parties that run together in big elections.

"We used this opportunity and we will struggle for the highest positions," Belobradek said.

KDU-CSL first deputy chairman Marian Jurecka said he considers the decision to run together with the STAN a courageous step that is good for traditional values and non-populist politics.

The KDU-CSL and the STAN leaderships held the final negotiations on Friday and this morning. The KDU-CSL national conference followed immediately afterwards and the party's regional leaders took part in it as well. It lasted about five hours.

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