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Tomáš Portlík is new leader of Prague ODS branch, Klaus Jr fails

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Prague, Nov 29 (CTK) – Tomas Portlik was elected chairman of the Prague branch of the Civic Democratic Party (right-wing opposition ODS) on Tuesday evening and Vaclav Klaus Junior, known for his aggressive political style, failed to be elected to the narrow leadership of the branch.

Jiri Zajac was elected the first deputy chairman of the Prague ODS branch, narrowly defeating Klaus Jr. Zajac won 36 votes, Klaus 29 votes. At least 35 votes were needed to win the post.

The media speculated that the charismatic Klaus Jr, son of ODS founder, former president and prime minister Vaclav Klaus Sr, might replace its current head Petr Fiala, a university professor and political scientist. Unlike Fiala, Klaus seemed ready to consider allying with ANO leader Andrej Babis who clearly won the elections.

Klaus Jr, 48, is known for his radical views and he often comments on the political affairs in media. He was the head of an elite secondary school in 1998-2014. He was an ODS member in the 2000s and he returned to the party last year. The highly Eurosceptic Klaus Sr became critical of the ODS in the 2000s and he preferred to support small anti-EU groupings.

The ODS improved its position in the recent general election, winning 11.3 percent of the vote, compared with 7.7 percent four years ago. However, it was one of the two strongest parties in the country until then: in the 2010 elections it won 20 percent and in the 2006 election 35 percent of the vote.

Portlik replaced Filip Humplik who was not defending the post. He was the only candidate, being supported by 63 of the 67 ODS delegates present.

Portlik, mayor of one of the Prague districts and the branch first deputy chairman until now, said the 2018 local and Senate elections were his priority now.

Jaroslava Janderova, Jaroslav Mith and Vojtech Kos were elected regular deputy heads.

None of the members of the Prague branch’s leadership has entered top politics so far.

The Prague ODS branch unanimously decided on Tuesday that current party leader Petr Fiala is its candidate for ODS chairman. The branch also wants Alexandra Udzenija to continue in the post of ODS first deputy chairwoman.

The ODS election congress will be held in Ostrava, north Moravia, on January 13, 2018.

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