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Birke not to seek re-election as CSSD deputy chairman

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Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, Jan 2 (CTK) – Jan Birke will not be defending his post of a Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy chairman at the party’s extraordinary congress due in February, he told CTK after a meeting of the executive committee of the CSSD regional branch in Hradec Kralove on Tuesday.

Birke has been a CSSD deputy head since March 2017.

Until June, he was the party’s election manager.

“I want to concentrate on defending the CSSD’s victory in the autumn local elections in Nachod,” Birke said, adding that in the case of the party’s victory, he wants to keep his post of the mayor of Nachod, an east Bohemian town.

Birke also keeps the post of the CSSD’s Hradec Kralove regional branch, which he has held since November 2014.

Delegates to the national congress to be held in Hradec Kralove on February 18 will choose a new CSSD chairperson and deputy chairpersons in reaction to the debacle in the October 2017 general election, from which the party emerged with a mere 15 deputies in the 200-seat lower house of parliament, in contrast to its previous 50 seats.

In January, the party’s regional branches will launch preparations for the congress, including the nomination of candidates for top party posts.

The congress might also discuss the CSSD’s approach to the minority government formed by the election-winning ANO movement.

The CSSD says it will not support the government in parliament’s vote of confidence next week, but CSSD acting chairman Milan Chovanec has not ruled out the party’s support for a possible second government to be formed by ANO leader Andrej Babis.

The CSSD’s latest regular national congress was held in Brno last March when Bohuslav Sobotka, the then prime minister, was re-elected the party’s chairman and candidates close to him filled other posts in the leadership.

However, Sobotka resigned as the party head in mid-June over the CSSD’s falling popularity. Chovanec, his statutory deputy, took up the party leadership, while Lubomir Zaoralek replaced Sobotka as the CSSD’s election leader.

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