Hluboka nad Vltavou, South Bohemia, Jan 28 (CTK) – The South Bohemia Social Democrats (CSSD) were the party’s first regional branch not to back PM Bohuslav Sobotka’s candidacy for re-election as CSSD head at its conference on Saturday, and they proposed Sobotka’s critic Jeronym Tejc for first deputy chairman.

Other 12 CSSD regional branches all supported Sobotka’s nomination for chairman at their respective conferences in the past weeks.

The conferences took place ahead of the CSSD national congress due in early March, which is to elect a new party leadership.

The only branch yet to hold its nomination conference is that in the Moravia-Silesia Region.

In the south Bohemian vote on Saturday, the nomination of Sobotka for chairman was supported by 56 out of 144 delegates, the CSSD regional secretary Karel Vrkoc told CTK.

The South Bohemia CSSD branch is headed by Jiri Zimola who is considered one of Sobotka’s opponents in the party.

Despite the CSSD’s failure in the autumn 2016 Czech regional elections, the party won in South Bohemia, led by Zimola, for the third time in a row and Zimola became the regional governor for the third time.

Most CSSD regional branches previously supported the nomination of Interior Minister Milan Chovanec for re-election as the party’s first deputy chairman. Chovanec’s candidacy has also been supported by Sobotka.

Tejc, a lawmaker and Sobotka’s opponent from south Moravia, has been nominated for first deputy chairman by a single regional branch so far, the South Moravia CSSD, and the South Bohemia branch became the second to nominate him on Saturday.

The Vysocina CSSD branch nominated no one for first deputy head.

In reaction to his second nomination on Saturday, Tejc tweeted that the South Bohemian vote was the first among all CSSD branches to choose the candidates in a secret ballot.

Tejc was supported by 106 south Bohemian delegates in the secret vote, Chovanec by 26.