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Farský to chair STAN deputy group

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Prague, Oct 23 (CTK) – Czech Mayors and Independents’ (STAN) MPs agreed on their previous stance not to join a coalition with the winning ANO and they elected Jan Farsky, leader in the weekend general election, their group head at their constituent meeting on Monday, the movement has said in a press release.

The deputy heads of the STAN MPs’ group will be Vit Rakusan and Vera Kovarova.

STAN, which was running solo for the first time in the weekend general election, slightly crossed the 5-percent parliamentary threshold and entered the Chamber of Deputies. It won 5.2 percent of the vote and has six MPs, the smallest group in the new Chamber of Deputies.

STAN MPs also said on Monday they would like to open a discussion on the school system and investments.

Farsky became the leader of the STAN election campaign three months ago after the project of its election coalition with the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) failed. Farsky was leading the STAN list of candidates in Prague.

The KDU-CSL withdrew from the coalition in fears of not gaining 10 percent of the vote with STAN, which is necessary for a two-party coalition to enter the Chamber of Deputies, while a single party only needs 5 percent.

Instead, the Christian Democrats proposed that STAN candidates run on the KDU-CSL’s lists, which STAN refused. Both parties, running solo, narrowly crossed 5 percent and entered the lower house.

Farsky said the deputy group had also debated its members’ future work in particular lower house committees to be as useful as possible.

“The committee of public administration and regional development is our priority,” he added.

STAN insists on its position expressed before the election, saying it cannot join a government coalition with ANO due to its “democratic deficit.”

STAN previously refused to cooperate with the Communists (KSCM) and the anti-Islam and anti-immigration Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement for the same reasons.

The STAN MPs also debated the state budget and they agreed that the education and investment chapters must be reopened.

The outgoing government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) approved the draft state budget for 2018 with a 50-billion-crown deficit again on Monday to be able to send it to the newly elected Chamber of Deputies.

The current coalition parties’ leaders agreed on Saturday night that the budget should not be changed. However, former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek, whose TOP 09 also entered the lower house again, said the budget can be amended next year.

Food and media mogul Andrej Babis’s ANO movement won the general election with 29.6 percent of the vote, followed by the Civic Democrats (ODS) with 11.3 percent, the Pirates with 10.8 percent, the SPD with 10.6 percent, the KSCM with 7.8 percent, the CSSD (7.3 percent), the KDU-CSL (5.8 percent), TOP 09 (5.3 percent) and STAN.

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