Pruhonice - Liberec Region governor Martin Puta, 42, was elected new head of the Czech Mayors and Independents (STAN) movement, an ally of the opposition conservative TOP 09, by the national assembly today.
Šestý republikový sněm hnutí Starostové a nezávislí (STAN) 28. března v Průhonicích u Prahy. Na snímku je nový předseda hnutí STAN, liberecký hejtman Martin Půta. ČTK Vondrouš Roman
He replaces Petr Gazdik, Chamber of Deputies deputy chairman, who did not seek re-election.
Puta, who did not have any rival in the election, was supported by all 160 delegates who cast their ballots.
Gazdik, 39, who headed the movement from 2009, was elected first deputy chairman. He was the only candidate for the post. He replaces Stanislav Polcak.
Gazdik said he is leaving as party head over his duties in the Chamber of Deputies and also because of personal reasons. He is expecting the birth of a fourth child.
Gazdik said STAN is represented in the lower house of parliament and has its own Senate group thanks to cooperation with TOP 09, it has healthy finance, does not have any Godfathers and scandals, it is not succumbing to corruption pressures.
Puta has long advocated a looser cooperation with TOP 09 than at present and said STAN should be running in the regional and local elections with their own lists of candidates unlike in the general election.
Puta has experience from local politics. He was elected three times in succession mayor of Hradek nad Nisou, north Bohemia, from 2002. He left the post when he was elected governor in 2012.
After his election to the head of STAN today, he said he wants to defend the post of governor in the next regional election in two years.