Czech president says Social Democrat losses due to central party leadership not regional


Social Democrat losses in regional elections are not due to the performance of regional assemblies but rather to the party’s failings at central government level, president Miloš Zeman said Sunday in an interview with the tabloid Blesk. Most of the regional leadership should be congratulated for the work done, he said. Zeman added that the overall victory of the ANO party at the polls is likely a foretaste of what will happen at elections to the lower house of parliament due to happen at the latest by October 2017. The president added that the results should not have a decisive influence on the working of the current coalition government, whose two main parties are the Social Democrats of prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka and ANO party headed by finance minister Andrej Babiš. The Social Democrats came top in just two regions with ANO triumphant in nine of the 13 regions being contested. Zeman was a former leader of the Social Democrats but often has a critical stance towards its current leader.