Prague, July 25 (CTK) – A crushing majority of the Mayors and Independents’ (STAN) national committee is for the movement running independently in the Czech general election to be held on October 20-21, its chairman Petr Gazdik said after the committee’s meeting in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday.
STAN will change its coalition pact with the junior government Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) to a looser agreement on cooperation on Thursday, Gazdik told reporters.
He will meet KDU-CSL chairman Pavel Belobradek this week to agree on this change.
The STAN leadership rejected the offered places on the KDU-CSL’s lists of candidates to preserve its own identity, Gazdik added.
The movement has already informed Belobradek on the result of Tuesday’s talks by phone.
STAN reacts to the decision of the KDU-CSL from last week to change the form of their cooperation from the previously agreed election coalition to some STAN candidates running on the KDU-CSL’s lists.
This would decrease the threshold for entering the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, to 5 percent of the vote, while a two-party coalition would have to cross 10 percent.
The parties and movements must submit their lists of election candidates by mid-August.
Gazdik said on Tuesday his movement was able to complete them in time.
He said he cannot see a problem in the finances of about 2.5 million crowns STAN had invested in the joint project with the Christian Democrats. They have spent a similar sum on it, he added.
STAN plans to spend the remaining 26 million crowns it put aside for the campaign in a coalition on its solo election campaign.
STAN will be running in all regions.
“The Czech elections’ results may not be based on public opinion polls,” Gazdik told reporters.
The voter support for STAN is about 2 percent only, according to opinion polls.
“STAN will go to the election solo… We refuse to be part of the business with public opinion polls and to be accused of wasting voter support, gambling with the votes and contributing to the victory of Andrej Babis (chairman of ANO, the election favourite),” Gazdik said.
He said STAN would like to address 250,000 voters who had supported it in the regional election last autumn if it decided to run independently.
“This is the 5 percent in the national election that we would need in such a case,” he said.
A dozen regional parties that signed the agreement on cooperation with the KDU-CSL and STAN in April are prepared to support STAN’s independent candidacy. “Their support is valid in case of STAN running alone in the election as well,” Gazdik said.
The STAN leadership also agreed on Tuesday to support the candidacy of scientist Jiri Drahos, 68, former Science Academy chairman, for president.
Gazdik and Belobradek announced in early July that they would propose that their parties support Drahos’s candidacy.
Drahos appreciated their support, but he said he would like to remain an independent, non-partisan candidate. “I am not and will not be a candidate of any political party or grouping, I am not negotiating about support with political entities and I am not actively seeking it,” Drahos wrote.
Gazdik said previously he highly esteemed Drahos’s clear pro-European orientation. He added that as the head of state, Drahos would respect the constitution and represent the country with dignity.
The presidential election will be held early next year.
Current President Milos Zeman, 72, will seek re-election.
Besides, lyricist and former businessman Michal Horacek, 64, physician Marek Hilser, 41, and Vratislav Kulhanek, 73, former chairman of the Skoda car maker’s board, will be running for president.