Thursday, 22 February 2018

Czech centrist party supports rector Bek for senator

ČTK |
31 January 2018

Prague, Jan 30 (CTK) - The Mayors and Independents (STAN) will support the candidacy of Masaryk University Rector Mikulas Bek for senator in the autumn election, STAN leader Petr Gazdik said after a national committee meeting of the small centrist Czech party on Tuesday.

According to Echo24.cz server, Bek is negotiating about possible support for his candidacy to the Senate. He would run in the city of Brno.

Bek has been the rector of Brno's Masaryk University since 2011 and his mandate expires next year. In November 2017, he refused the offer to be education minister in a minority government of ANO leader Andrej Babis. He proposed Robert Plaga for the post instead. Plaga was appointed minister in mid-December.

The STAN said the Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, should be a safeguard against undemocratic development that is threatening due to the possible government cooperation between the ANO movement, the Communist Party (KSCM) and the far-right populist Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD).

"We are deeply alarmed by the situation in the country. As it horrifies us, we talked with all the democratic parties last week," Gazdik said.

He said the talks showed that the democratic parties would be able to find a solution if Babis, who is prosecuted over a suspected EU subsidy fraud, stopped insisting on keeping the post of prime minister.

"A government without ANO cannot be formed, but a government of ANO and the democratic parties seems to me a solution to the situation," Gazdik said.

STAN deputy chairman Vit Rakusan said the STAN is not telling that it was ready to join the ANO government without Babis as prime minister. He said the STAN MPs would not help ANO win a majority in the Chamber of Deputies anyway.

The STAN is the smallest party in the 200-seat Chamber, having six MPs. ANO has 78 MPs, the SPD 22 and the KSCM 15. The right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) have 25 MPs, the Pirates 22, the Social Democrats (CSSD) 15, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) 10 and the centre-right TOP 09 7.

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