published: 01.11.2013, 15:20 | updated: 01.11.2013 15:29:33
Prague - Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Bohuslav Sobotka will not expel the participants in the Saturday secret meeting with President Milos Zeman from the CSSD shadow government, but the rebels will hardly be in a real cabinet if the party formed it, Sobotka indicated today.
"I am not going to deal with the shadow cabinet now, we will focus on the negotiations about the real government," he told CTK.
But Sobotka said a cabinet post for the head of the rebels, CSSD first deputy chairman Michal Hasek, can be ruled out.
The conflict between Sobotka and his rival Hasek, who is considered Zeman's ally, erupted in the winning CSSD immediately after the October 25-26 elections. Five leading Social Democrats led by Hasek secretly met Zeman on Saturday. Afterwards, the CSSD presidium called on Sobotka to step down as chairman and expelled him from the government negotiating team on Sunday.
The CSSD narrowly won the early general election, gaining 20.5 percent of the vote, which is a much worse result than the party expected and it does not enable them to form a leftist coalition.
Sobotka has defended his position so far, however. Hasek and his adherents first denied having met Zeman and they only admitted it on Wednesday.
Sobotka met the heads of the CSSD´s possible allies, the centrist ANO movement and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) in the past few days for the first time.
Except CSSD deputy chairman Zdenek Skromach, the other four rebels have posts in the CSSD shadow cabinet, Hasek is shadow agriculture minister, CSSD deputy group head Jeronym Tejc is in charge of the interior, regional governor Jiri Zimola of the local development and CSSD deputy head Milan Chovanec of transport affairs.
Sobotka indicated that only Chovanec, the first one to admit his participation in the meeting with Zeman and the one who changed his position, might win a ministerial post.
Zimola gave up his membership of the party´s top bodies on Thursday night, in the CSSD board and the central executive committee.
Zimola´s step was appreciated by CSSD deputy chairwoman Alena Gajduskova and Senate chairman Milan Stech, who both belong to the party wing supporting Sobotka.
Gajduskova said nobody acting like Hasek should represent the CSSD.
Hasek, Skromach and Tejc said on Thursday they would decide on their political future in the next days. The issue will be probably decided by the central executive meeting on November 10, which will discuss the election result and the secret meeting with Zeman.
Hasek apologised for repeatedly lying about the meeting with Zeman.
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