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Olomouc Mayor Staněk to run for ČSSD chairman

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Prague, Jan 11 (CTK) – Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) MP Antonin Stanek, mayor of the north Moravian town of Olomouc, will run for the party’s chairman at the CSSD election congress in February, he told CTK on Thursday.

Stanek said he does not belong to any camp in the party and wants to call for unity and communication in the party. “I can offer a certain view from above and try to direct the streams in the party to merge into one river,” he said.

Stanek has been a member of the CSSD broad leadership since 2015, but he has never been part of the narrow leadership. “I don’t want to say I am a new face, but I am not connected with the past times very much,” he said.

The CSSD might negotiate about joining the government with ANO leader Andrej Babis, who is likely to try to form the next cabinet, under clearly specified conditions, Stanek said.

CSSD deputy chairman Jan Hamacek, who is the deputy head of the Chamber of Deputies, announced his candidacy for the party’s leader earlier this week and said he wanted to restart the CSSD. Former military intelligence chief Miroslav Krejcik also said he would run for CSSD chairman next month.

In the autumn general election, the Social Democrats defended only 15 of their 50 seats in the 200-member Chamber of Deputies. They ruled the country together with the ANO movement and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) in the past four years. Last spring, then prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka gave up the posts of CSSD chairman and election leader. The party has been led by first deputy chairman Milan Chovanec since then.

“I believe Sobotka’s government was successful and we need to develop these successes,” Stanek said.

On Wednesday, Chovanec presented the conditions under which the CSSD could join Babis’s government.

Last week, a platform Let’s Rescue CSSD was established by critics of Sobotka’s camp in the party and supporters of President Milos Zeman who led the CSSD in 1993-2001.

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