Olomouc - The congress of the Czech opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) today approved a fundamental change in the parties´ statutes to slim down the executive council and establish a new 100-member body called the national assembly.
Dvoudenní kongres Občanské demokratické strany (ODS) se konal 18. ledna v Olomouci v prostorách kongresového centra Clarion Congress Hotel Olomouc. ČTK Peřina Luděk
The change was proposed by the ODS previous leadership but newly elected chairman Petr Fiala supported it, too.
The delegates were not united about the change - 286 supported it, while 191 voted against it.
The ODS congress delegates also discussed other changes to the statutes concerning the expulsion from the party and membership suspension.
They finally agreed that the ODS local branches or their councils would have the right to abolish membership of a person definitively convicted of an intentional crime.
Under the changed statutes, the ODS executive council, which was the only broader party body to meet between congresses and decide on fundamental matters, will be narrowed.
Each of the 14 regions, including Prague, will have now only one representative in the executive council. The council will also include the board with the chairman, deputy chairpersons and heads of deputy and senator groups in parliament.
The national assembly will be established to comprise the heads of all local and regional organisations and the board. The assembly is to meet twice to three times a year.
The executive council will meet more often.
Former ODS first deputy chairman Martin Kuba justified the change saying voices from the regions had often criticised the executive council for not being efficient enough.
However, some Civic Democrats raised objections, pointing to differences between particular regions in terms of their size and number of ODS members.
Fiala, who did not participate in the preparation of the new statutes, expressed support to the change.
"The proposal seems reasonable to me since. I feel the necessity to establish a national assembly," Fiala told the delegates.
The future senior government Social Democratic Party (CSSD) has a similar structure of its bodies. Apart from the board, it has the presidium and central executive committee.
Besides, the ODS congress delegates assigned the executive council to propose the rules of the establishment of a new advisory body, comprising ODS mayors.
Though Fiala in his Saturday speech called on the ODS to more focus on citizens´ problems, its congress has dealt with internal affairs so far.