Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Free Citizens' Party leadership resigns after Czech elections

ČTK |
24 October 2017

Prague, Oct 23 (CTK) - The leadership of the Party of Free Citizens (SSO), a small Eurosceptic grouping, will resign from their posts after their party failed to enter parliament in the Czech general election held on October 20-21, SSO spokesman Martin Rumler told CTK on Monday.

The election result of 1.56 percent of the vote is a clear failure and the party must draw consequences from it and take a lesson from it, Rumler quoted the SSO leadership as saying.

"However, we believe that the programme of our party is extraordinary, has permanent value and it makes sense to keep promoting it," the leadership said.

SSO chairman Petr Mach, deputy chairwoman Terezia Mlynkova Iskova and deputy chairmen Josef Kales, Jiri Kubicek and Radim Smetka will leave their posts as of November 18 when a new party leader is to be elected.

Mach is considering whether to run for party leader again or not. "Irrespective of my decision, I am deeply interested in the SSO future and I want to remain a politically active member of the party," he said.

Mach was elected to the European Parliament for the SSO in 2014, being its only MEP, but he gave up his mandate in August in order to get fully involved in the election campaign in the Czech Republic.

Over 79,000 people cast their votes for the SSO on Friday and Saturday. Nine parties crossed the 5-percent threshold and entered parliament. The SSO is the only party that has not won parliamentary seats but will receive a financial contribution from the Czech state.

All parties that win over 1.5 percent of the vote receive a state contribution.

The SSO will get 7.9 million crowns. After the previous general election in 2013, the SSO won 2.46 percent of the vote and received 12.3 million crowns from the state.

The Green Party won only slightly fewer votes (1.46 percent), yet they are not eligible to receive a state contribution. Greens leader Matej Stropnicky gave up his post immediately after the election.

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