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Právo: Finance Minister Pilný to leave politics in autumn

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Prague, June 21 (CTK) – Czech Finance Minister Ivan Pilny (ANO), 72, wants to end in politics after the October general election in which he decided not to run, daily Pravo writes today.

He announced his decision a few days before the final approval of ANO’s lists of election candidates.

Pilny did not react to the paper’s questions about his planned departure, however, ANO chairman Andrej Babis confirmed that Pilny would not run in the election to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, for personal reasons.

According to Pravo’s sources, his withdrawal was caused by health troubles in the family.

Babis told Pravo that ANO deputy group head Jaroslav Faltynek would probably replace Pilny as the election leader in the Vysocina Region.

Pilny recently replaced Babis at the Finance Ministry’s helm, which solved a government crisis. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) sought the dismissal of the billionaire businessman, deputy PM and finance minister Babis from the coalition cabinet of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) due to his dubious business activities. President Milos Zeman sacked Babis and appointed Pilny after long hesitations on May 24.

Pravo also writes that Babis has apparently changed his mind and decided to field the regional governors for ANO at the head of the candidates’ lists.

The election leader in the Olomouc Region will be its governor Ladislav Oklestek, while the candidates in the Moravia-Silesia Regions will be led by local governor Ivo Vondrak, Pravo adds.

Yet at the beginning of the year, Babis claimed that mayors and regional governors should focus on their work in municipalities and regions and not run for the Chamber of Deputies to avoid a suspicion of the plurality of posts, or at least be placed at the bottom of the candidates’ lists.

However, Babis may have found out then that his movement did not have enough personalities to lead the candidates’ lists, Pravo writes.

Central Bohemia Regional Governor Jaroslava Jermanova will also run for the lower house, but as number two since the list of candidates in Central Bohemia is headed by Babis. The election leader in Prague will be Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky, Pravo says.

It adds that Babis has succeeded in persuading some popular persons to run for ANO as well, such as former ice hockey goalie Milan Hnilicka who played in the Czech national team that won gold medals at the Nagano Olympics.

The ANO leadership is supposed to approve the final versions of the lists candidates on Monday, Pravo writes.

ANO is a clear favourite of the October 20-21 general election. The latest opinion polls show that it would gain some 30 percent of the vote.


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