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KDU, STAN to debate cooperation in 2017 general election

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Prague, Dec 16 (CTK) – The leadership of the Czech junior government Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) will launch talks with the Mayors and Independents (STAN) on possible cooperation before the autumn 2017 general election, the party’s national conference decided Saturday, KDU-CSL chairman Pavel Belobradek told reporters.
Details of the cooperation will only start to be discussed. They will be known by the end of February, Belobradek said.
The plan to launch the talks was supported by all members of the national conference except for two, who abstained from the vote.
Saturday’s decision does not mean that the KDU-CSL and the STAN will really form a bloc to run jointly in the election, Belobradek, deputy prime minister, told a press conference.
“It was only necessary for the [KDU-CSL] national conference to say whether the party will run [in the polls] separately or whether a further discussion [on an election bloc] is possible,” Belobradek said.
Saturday’s decision does not mean nodding to a cooperation but only assigning the KDU-CSL leadership to negotiate about possible cooperation, Belobradek emphasised.
The KDU-CSL has not debated cooperation with other entities. It does not rule it out if the entities’ representatives run in the election for the STAN.
KDU-CSL first deputy chairman and Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka said an alliance with the STAN could benefit both parties in the elections.
“It is a historic chance. Last time such a chance appeared 15 years ago,” Jurecka said, alluding to the KDU-CSL’s participation in the former project of the election centre-right Quad-Coalition that also included now defunct Freedom Union, Democratic Union and Civic Democratic Alliance and that gained 14.3 percent of the vote in the 2002 general election.
The centrist KDU-CSL or its predecessor, the Czechoslovak People’s Party (CSL), has been represented in parliament for many decades except for the previous election term (2010-2013). At present, it has 14 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies and three seats in the 17-member centre-left government.

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