Prague, June 29 (CTK) – The Czech Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement does not want to run in coalition with TOP 09, its long-term partner, in the regional election to be held in the autumn of 2016, daily Pravo writes Monday.

STAN has long been an allied movement of the opposition conservative TOP 09 and they have a joint deputy group in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, in which STAN has five MPs. However, cooperation between STAN and TOP 09 on other levels has been stagnating.

In the previous regional election in 2012, STAN was running with TOP 09 in all regions, except for Prague where election was held last year.

Now STAN prefers cooperation with various regional movements, the junior government Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and a group around former regional development minister Frantisek Lukl (unaffiliated), current mayor of Kyjov, south Moravia, and chairman of the Czech Association of Towns and Villages.

TOP 09 first deputy chairman Miroslav Kalousek told Pravo that STAN’s behaviour had not surprised him very much. “I do not regret it at all, it is the Mayors and Independents’ decision,” he added.

“We want to negotiate with regional entities that have a programme similar to ours,” former STAN chairman Marin Puta, governor of the Liberec Region, north Bohemia, said.

He added that STAN would start preparing for the regional election soon.

“After the election, we will be negotiating with all parties except for the Communists (KSCM). We want to be a platform to associate regional movements and parties. Our effort is to connect and not divide,” STAN chairman Petr Gazdik told Pravo.

The local STAN organisations make decision on coalitions in each region alone. They must do so by June 30. If they did not submit the proposal for their possible partner in the 2016 regional election, the STAN national leadership would decide on it, Pravo says.

STAN leaders are to meet representatives of mainly regional parties and movements to discuss possible cooperation in the 2016 election later Monday.

A number of parties in parliament consider STAN “a rich bride.” Not only the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), but also the other two government parties, the Social Democrats (CSSD) and ANO, have expressed interest in cooperating with STAN, Pravo says.

STAN signed a new cooperation agreement with TOP 09 in May 2013 to be valid until 2017. However, it is not probable that it will be extended. Speculations therefore emerged saying STAN might run with another party in the next general election in 2017 when the agreement with TOP 09 is no longer binding, Pravo writes.