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Chovanec is temporary ČSSD manager for general elections

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Prague, June 15 (CTK) – Milan Chovanec, the fresh leader of the Czech Social Democratic Party (senior government CSSD), has replaced Jan Birke in the post of the CSSD manager for the autumn general election, the party said in a press release on Thursday.

On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced that CSSD first deputy chairman Chovanec will replace him in the post of party head and deputy chairman Lubomir Zaoralek in the post of the election leader.

Chovanec is to be the election manager temporarily. “I will consult my colleagues in the leadership on our further steps,” he said.

Birke said earlier on Thursday he decided to give up the post of election manager because it was Sobotka who asked him to prepare the election campaign and the new party leaders should be able to choose their own team.

Birke was elected CSSD deputy chairman at the party’s congress in March and he is the CSSD election leader in the Hradec Kralove Region.

The party said Birke will keep participating in the campaign and focus on trade unions and transport.

The personnel changes are made four months before the elections after opinion polls indicated that more and more voters are defecting from the CSSD. Sobotka said he feels responsible for the fall in the voter support for the party.

The Social Democrats have the ambition to win the October election, but opinion polls show that the ANO movement of Andrej Babis, with which the CSSD has been ruling the country since 2014, is far more popular than them.

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