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Lower house elects four deputy heads, Fiala fails for now

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Prague, Nov 24 (CTK) – The Czech lower house elected Vojtech Pikal (Pirates), Tomio Okamura (SPD), Vojtech Filip (KSCM) and Jan Hamacek (CSSD) its deputy chairmen on Friday while Petr Fiala (ODS), the only candidate for the fifth seat, failed in the secret ballot and a new election has to be held, probably this week.

Fiala (Civic Democrats, ODS) failed to be elected deputy chairman in both the first and the second round of the secret ballot in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies on Friday.

In the first round, he was supported by 83 of the 195 voting deputies. In the second round, he was supported by 85 of the 191 voting deputies, the election commission head Martin Kolovratnik (ANO) announced.

Deputies’ groups can submit new candidates for the second election.

Fiala’s ODS ended second in the October general election, though far behind the victorious ANO movement, whose representative Radek Vondracek became the Chamber of Deputies’ chairman on Wednesday.

In the first round of the secret ballot on Friday, 195 deputies took part and 98 votes were needed for a candidate to be elected. The successful candidates Pikal (Pirates), Okamura (Freedom and Direct Democracy, SPD), Filip (Communists, KSCM) and Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) were supported by 102, 102, 121 and 143 deputies, respectively.

Hamacek was the lower house chairman in the previous election term, while Filip was a deputy chairman.

In the previous election term, the Chamber has four deputy chairpersons only, with the last vacant seat being filled in the third election only.

In reaction to the election result on Friday, some parties’ representatives criticised the non-election of Fiala, which, they said, goes counter to the principle of parties’ proportional representation in the Chamber’s leadership.

ODS deputies’ group head Zbynek Stanjura said Fiala was boycotted by ANO and its allies, the SPD and the KSCM, in retaliation for the ODS’s refusal “to kiss the ring.” Stanjura probably alluded to Babis as the protagonist of the post-election negotiations and probable new prime minister, who has repeatedly unsuccessfully asked the ODS to join his nascent government.

Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) deputies’ group head Jan Bartosek said a voting machine of ANO, the extreme-right SPD and KSCM has arisen in the Chamber of Deputies, and he called the three parties “a coalition of lie.”

CSSD deputies’ group head Jan Chvojka, too, said that a “devilish coalition” obviously operates in the Chamber.

His ANO counterpart Jaroslav Faltynek vowed to ask ANO deputies to support Fiala next time.

SPD chairman Tomio Okamura dismissed speculations about a voting alliance of his SPD with ANO and the KSCM.

“We have not agreed on any bloc,” he said, adding that he was for the observance of the proportional representation principle.

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