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Sobotka backed by 13 out of 14 Czech region

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Petrvald, North Moravia, Feb 9 (CTK) – The Moravia-Silesia regional branch of the governing Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) proposed Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to the post of its leader yesterday, thanks to which he gained support in 13 out of the 14 regional party branches.
Only the South Bohemia branch denied support to Sobotka before the March national congress of the party.
“Thanks for the clear backing from the regional conference in the Moravia-Silesia Region. We are before a big battle for the maintenance of the welfare and democratic state,” Sobotka has tweeted.
The regional conference also voted on the nominations for party deputy chairpersons. They were gained by Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek, party manager Jan Birke, Prague politician Petr Dolinek, Deputy Health Minister Lenka Teska Arnostova and Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova.
After the party’s failure in the regional elections last autumn, Sobotka faced criticism, to which he reacted by changes in the government.
So far, he has had no rival for the post of party leader.
His opponent Jeronym Tejc said earlier he would not contest the post.
President Milos Zeman, a former Social Democrat leader, said last week Sobotka’s re-election was no foregone conclusion.
Zeman said the re-election was not as clear as it might be concluded from the high number of nominations by the regions.
He stressed that only the vote in South Bohemia had been secret.
Zeman’s relations with Sobotka have been tense since 2003 when a part of Social Democrat leaders refused to back Zeman’s presidential bid.

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