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KDU-ČSL criticises STAN’s decision to run solo in elections

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Prague, July 25 (CTK) – Tuesday’s decision of the Mayors and Independents (STAN) to run in the Czech general election solo and not with the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) means an unnecessary splitting of forces and the threat of a one-party monopoly, the KDU-CSL has said in a press release sent to CTK.

A joint candidacy would have a chance to gain more votes, the Christian Democrats said, adding that they believed they would cooperate with STAN after the election.

The STAN national committee rejected on Tuesday the offered places on the KDU-CSL’s lists of candidates for the October 20-21 general election.

STAN reacted to the KDU-CSL’s decision from last week to change the form of their cooperation. Instead of the previously agreed election coalition, it proposed that STAN candidates can be running on the KDU-CSL’s lists.

The KDU-CSL and STAN signed an agreement on their election coalition in April. However, as a two-party coalition, they would have to gain at least 10 percent of the vote to enter the Chamber of Deputies, while individual parties only need 5 percent.

The latest opinion polls show that the KDU-CSL and STAN coalition would not cross the 10-percent threshold.

This is also why the KDU-CSL leadership called on STAN to run on the Christian Democrat lists of candidates, which the movement rejected on Tuesday.

The Christian Democrats say they regret Tuesday’s decision by STAN but they respect it.

STAN chairman Gazdik said STAN decided so to preserve its own identity and not to lose its “trademark.”

STAN was running with the opposition right-wing TOP 09 in the previous election.

Jiri Cunek (KDU-CSL), governor of the Zlin Region, south Moravia, who has long questioned the viability of the KDU-CSL/STAN election coalition, expressed surprise at STAN’s decision on Tuesday.

On the contrary, KDU-CSL MEP Tomas Zdechovky called STAN’s step logical. He said it would harm the KDU-CSL in Bohemia where it would gain stronger support in a coalition with STAN.

The KDU-CSL said it had given “a fair offer” to STAN as they would have six election leaders and eight candidates placed second. The Christian Democrats would fill 60 percent of the places and STAN 40 percent on the lists of candidates and both parties would share the costs of the joint election campaign accordingly.

Gazdik said previously it would cost some 50 million crowns.

Gazdik and KDU-CSL chairman Pavel Belobradek will debate their parties’ further cooperation in another form on Thursday.

STAN wants to change its coalition pact with the Christian Democrats to a looser cooperation agreement.

According to the latest opinion polls, the government ANO movement would win the election with some 30 percent of the vote, much ahead of other parties, while the KDU-CSL would gain about 7 percent and STAN under 2 percent.

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