Brussels/Prague, Aug 29 (CTK) – Eurosceptic Czech MEP Petr Mach, head of the small Eurosceptic Party of Free Citizens, will end in the European Parliament this week, he told CTK today, adding that he will present the reasons for his departure at a press conference on Wednesday.

Mach is his party’s number one candidate in Prague in the Czech general election due on October 20-21.

“I can confirm that it is true. I am resigning and my mandate [of a MEP] expires on August 31,” he said.

According to tabloid Blesk, Mach indicated his intention late last year, saying that he wants to focus on the campaign ahead of the general election.

The Party of Free Citizens has never entered Czech parliament so far. In the previous election in 2013, it gained 2.5 percent of the vote.

Election models released by polling agencies predict the party’s similar result in the forthcoming election and show it is unlikely to cross the 5-percent threshold.

In the EP, Mach is likely to be replaced by Jiri Payne who was the number two candidate of the Party of Free Citizens in the latest EP elections. The party won a single EP seat then. This was a success since it is not represented in Czech parliament.

Payne was an aide to former president Vaclav Klaus. He ran for the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) in the past.

Mach joined the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD) formed in the EP mostly by British and Italian Eurosceptics.

Mach, 42, presents himself as a right-leaning liberal pushing for Czech departure from the EU and opposed to state redistribution of assets. He promotes a gradual abolition of the income tax and privatisation of state-run enterprises.

kva,rtj/mr/rtj