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Zaorálek, Štech might be ČSSD candidate for president

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Prague, May 25 (CTK) – Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek or Senate chairman Milan Stech (both Social Democrats, CSSD) might be the CSSD candidate for Czech president, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who is the party’s leader, told iDnes.cz news server yesterday.

“This is one of the things caused by the conflict with Andrej Babis and Milos Zeman,” Sobotka said.

In early May, Sobotka demanded that Finance Minister and ANO movement’s leader Andrej Babis leave the government due to his controversial financial transactions and abuse of the media he owned in his political campaigning. President Milos Zeman refused to promptly dismiss Babis and wanted Sobotka to give up his post. Babis eventually agreed with his replacement and Zeman sacked him on Wednesday.

The Czech Republic will hold a general election in October and a direct presidential election in early 2018.

Sobotka said previously that Zeman and Babis made a pact in order to help one another to become president and prime minister. He said he can see no leftist presidential candidate and so the CSSD should choose its own, possibly in summer.

ANO has been the most popular party in the country, well ahead of the runner-up Social Democrats, opinion polls indicated.

Originally, the Social Democrats planned to decide on their candidate after the general election.

Sobotka told iDnes that the CSSD candidate should appeal to left-wing voters who do not want to support Zeman and who consider the other candidates rightist.

Zeman is the favourite of the direct presidential election. His main rivals are businessman Michal Horacek and former Czech Sciences Academy head Jiri Drahos.

Sobotka ruled out that he would run for president himself.

kva/dr

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