Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Zeman: Hamáček may run for senior Chamber of Deputies post

15 November 2017

Lany, Central Bohemia, Nov 13 (CTK) - President Milos Zeman expects former Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) to run for the post of its deputy chairman, acting Social Democrat leader Milan Chovanec told journalists after meeting Zeman on Monday.

Zeman also took an interest in the situation in the Social Democrat party after its crushing defeat in the October election to the Chamber of Deputies in which it only gained 7.3 percent of the vote, compared with 20.5 percent in 2013.

Chovanec said Zeman, a former Social Democrat, had made no recommendations or criticism of the new party board.

"Zeman expressed the expectation that Hamacek, nominated by the CSSD deputy group, would run for a deputy chairman of the Chamber of Deputies," Chovanec said.

Zeman repeated that if re-elected next January, he would not call any early election, Chovanec said.

This is one of the options because Zeman asked Andrej Babis, leader of the election-winning ANO, with talks on the creation of a new government. However, most of the remaining eight parties are reluctant to join a coalition government with him. Although ANO won the election with almost 30 percent of the vote, it does not have force to form a one-colour majority government.

Zeman also wanted to be informed about the constituent session of the Chamber of Deputies, Hamacek said.

"I assured him that it is our aim that the Chamber of Deputies should start working and that further constitutional steps should be taken," Hamacek said.

A new chairman and leadership of the Chamber of Deputies are elected at the constituent session of the lower house which starts on November 20. After it ends, the outgoing government resigns.

"Zeman expressed his conviction and interest in the Social Democrats, the oldest Czech party, remaining a player to be reckoned with on the Czech political scene," Hamacek said.

Chovanec spoke about Zeman's health. He assured the journalists that Zeman was in a good condition.

"I certainly did not see an ill man," Chovanec said, which was confirmed by Hamacek.

Speculations about Zeman's ailing health have appeared in past weeks.

Last week, Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek dismissed the information that Zeman suffered from cancer.

Zeman recently said he got rid of his diabetes by eating sweet food.

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