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Zeman: Sobotka should leave government

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Prague, May 4 (CTK) – The current coalition government should rule until the October election to the Chamber of Deputies and it should only be left by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD), President Milos Zeman told the television station Barrandov on Thursday.

A different Social Democrat should head the government, Zeman said, mentioning Social Democrat deputy chairmen, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec.

Zeman said it could not be ruled out that Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) leader Pavel Belobradek might be appointed if the Social Democrats refused his offer.

Zeman said he would announce the name of the new prime minister after he returns from China on May 18.

It is absurd to change dramatically the government lineup six months before the regular election, Zeman said.

“With some minor exceptions, the government should remain in the same lineup. Sobotka is the only one who should be replaced,” he added.

Zeman said Sobotka had decided to leave in his own right, while the rest of the ministers should continue “with some minor exceptions.”

A man capable of gaining the trust of the Chamber of Deputies should be the new prime minister, Zeman said.

“Zaoralek can be expected to gain it because his support may cut across the coalition government parties. Chovanec may be blocked by ANO,” he added.

Zeman said the government’s resignation announced by Sobotka earlier this week was an act of his desperation caused by the Social Democrats’ falling preferences.

“It is cowardly, leaving the fight instead of fighting when the election is to be held soon,” he added.

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