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KDU-ČSL calls on STAN to enter its lists of candidates

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Prague, July 18 (CTK) – The broader leadership of the Czech junior ruling Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) today called on the opposition Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement to run on its lists of candidates in the October general election instead of in a two-party coalition, head Pavel Belobradek has said.

He said neither the joint lists of candidates nor the way of financing the two parties’ campaign would change.

“The resolution was motivated by responsibility for the election result and especially the post-election developments in the Czech Republic. We do not want to risk the possible rule of one party,” Belobradek said after a meeting of the KDU-CSL national committee.

He was hinting at Andrej Babis’s ANO movement which has long headed public opinion polls with a big lead on other parties.

Belobradek said many voters have been bothered about the risk of a loss of their votes because a two-party coalition has a higher parliamentary barrier.

One party must gain at least 5 percent of the vote, while a two-party coalition needs 10 percent. Some public opinion polls in June showed that the KDU-CSL/STAN coalition would not cross the barrier.

Belobradek justified today’s decision saying he does not want to risk a big number of votes to go to other parties and a possible one-party government if the KDU-CSL/STAN coalition did not reach the 10 percent barrier.

If STAN candidates ran on the KDU-CSL lists of candidates, a mere 5 percent would be enough to get into the Chamber of Deputies.

“We think that this is a bet on certainty. Actually, this is something that other parties also apply and it is nothing new,” Belobradek said about the new cooperation format.

He said it could raise the two entities’ voter preferences.

“We believe that this formal change will bring nothing else but that we will definitely enter the Chamber of Deputies. This will calm down a part of voters, they will not be afraid of anything and on the contrary, they will cast their votes for us and we will cross the 10 percent more markedly,” Belobradek said.

The change of cooperation was discussed by the KDU-CSL board since early this afternoon. It was followed by a three-hour meeting of the national committee.

After it, Belobradek made a short statement for journalists. No questions were allowed.

The KDU-CSL and STAN’s cooperation was negotiated about from the end of last year. It was definitely approved by the KDU-CSL congress at the end of May.

However, a part of the KDU-CSL’s representatives expressed fears about the suitability of this form of election cooperation, citing mainly the 10 percent barrier.

Belobradek claimed for a long time that the coalition has a potential to markedly cross the barrier and that he does not overestimate the public opinion polls according to which it would not cross it.


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