Prague, Oct 30 (CTK) – The Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) will not field their own candidate in the direct presidential election due in January, CSSD spokesman Mikulas Klang said, adding that the party would discuss its possible support for other candidates only later.

The deadline for contenders to support their candidacy is November 7.

The CSSD previously considered holding an internal referendum for the rank-and-file to decide on the party’s position in the presidential election. Originally, the first half of 2017 was mentioned as the referendum date but in April the party postponed the decision for November.

In August, CSSD Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka did not rule out that the party will not field any candidate of its own.

Out of the other parties in parliament, the ANO movement, the Communists (KSCM), the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and TOP 09 have already said they would not field their own candidates either.

About 20 people have shown interest in the presidential post so far. They include the incumbent President Milos Zeman, entrepreneur and lyricist Michal Horacek, former Science Academy chairman Jiri Drahos, former Skoda Auto head Vratislav Kulhanek Security and Defence Association head Jiri Hynek and former ambassador Pavel Fischer.

In the first direct presidential election in 2013, the CSSD’s candidate Jiri Dienstbier fourth out of nine contenders, gaining 16.12 percent of the vote in the first round.