Prague, Feb 4 (CTK) – Jan Hamacek, Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy head, has been nominated for CSSD chairman by five of the CSSD’s 14 regional branches, which is the highest number among all candidates for the post to be contested at the CSSD congress on February 18.

Three nominations went to CSSD acting chairman Milan Chovanec.

Out of the remaining nominees, they were each nominated by one regional branch. They are former Military Intelligence Service head Miroslav Krejcik, former South Bohemia Governor Jiri Zimola, Ceska Lipa Mayor Romana Zatecka and Olomouc Mayor Antonin Stanek.

Three regional branches decided not to nominate any candidate.

Another candidate seeking chairmanship is Antonin Jukl, a municipal assembly member and library director in Policka, east Bohemia.

Hamacek, who is Chamber of Deputies’ deputy chairman, said in a televised debate on Sunday that the CSSD’s upcoming congress should decide on whether the CSSD will launch negotiations with the election-winning ANO on forming a government.

The extraordinary congress will choose a new party leadership following the CSSD’s debacle in the October 2017 general election, from which the so far strongest CSSD emerged with only 15 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, compared to its previous 50.

The CSSD has been split into two opinion streams for a long time. The protagonists of one of them, the conservative, are Zimola, another former regional governor Michal Hasek, deputy Jaroslav Foldyna and former senator Zdenek Skromach.

The other, liberal, includes Hamacek, former CSSD chairman and now deputy Bohuslav Sobotka and former ministers Michaela Marksova and Jiri Dienstbier.

At Chovanec’s invitation, the CSSD congress will be visited by President Milos Zeman, who was re-elected to the top state post a week ago.

Zeman, who was CSSD chairman in 1993-2001, prime minister for the CSSD in 1998-2002, but fell out with the CSSD in the mid-2000s, has had tense relations with a part of the CSSD in recent years. He was not invited to the previous CSSD congress, which re-elected Sobotka the party chairman last year.

A part of the CSSD supports Zeman.

Chovanec said Zeman’s planned visit to the congress shows that he is not indifferent to the CSSD’s fate.

Review of CSSD regional branches’ nominees for party chairperson:

Region nominee for CSSD chairperson
Prague Jan Hamacek
South Bohemia Jiri Zimola
South Moravia Miroslav Krejcik
Karlovy Vary Jan Hamacek
Hradec Kralove Jan Hamacek
Liberec Romana Zatecka, Jan Hamacek
Moravia-Silesia no nominee
Olomouc Antonin Stanek
Pardubice no nominee
Plzen Milan Chovanec
Central Bohemia Jan Hamacek
Usti Milan Chovanec
Vysocina no nominee
Zlin Milan Chovanec