Saturday, 26 May 2018

ČSSD's 1100 branches to decide on entering Babiš's government

ČTK |
15 May 2018

Prague, May 14 (CTK) - Some 19,000 members of the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) will decide in a secret ballot on its participation in a government with ANO, tolerated by the Communists, at meetings of almost 1100 local CSSD branches and the leadership will announce the referendum results on June 15.

The votes will be counted twice - directly in the local organisations and then in the CSSD headquarters in Prague.

The CSSD leadership called the referendum on Friday.

It will ask the party members whether they agree with the CSSD entering a coalition government with ANO based on the conditions embedded in the draft coalition agreement and government policy statement. The party will release both documents to its members before the referendum. It also wants to give them the names of its ministers nominated for the coalition government od Andrej Babis (ANO).

The referendum will be held from May 21 till June 14.

It was originally expected to be a week shorter, but CSSD chairman Jan Hamacek said a number of local branches would have meetings to debate the lists of candidates for the autumn local elections at the same time and the leadership would not like to force them to hold two meetings in a fairly short time.

The Social Democrats will cast their votes in a secret ballot at the meetings of their local branches, on which the CSSD Central Executive Committee decided in April as the new party statutes to enable electronic voting were not registered then.

Besides, some party members expressed fears that electronic votes might be attacked by hackers or manipulated.

The votes will be counted at the local branches' meetings first and the results will be sent to the CSSD headquarters in Prague by post and electronically, CSSD spokesman Petr Vurbs told CTK.

The local organisations will also send ballots to the headquarters where they will be counted once again to avoid mistakes.

All Social Democrats who were the party members at least 30 days before the referendum have the right to vote in it. More than one-quarter of all members must take part in it for the results to be valid. The decision will be accepted if at least an absolute majority of the voting members support it.

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