Members of the Civic Democratic Party have voted against holding a vote of confidence on chairman Mirek Topolánek at the party’s 20th conference. In-party opponents of the chairman and former prime minister were soundly defeated in the vote by a margin of almost three to one. A vote to cast secret ballots was also rejected. Mr Topolánek faced heavy criticism from speakers at the convention, among other things for resigning his parliamentary mandate in September to protest a failed vote to dissolve Parliament for early elections. In an hour-long opening speech, the party chairman emphasised his view that a change of leadership would mean sure victory for the party’s main rivals, the Social Democrats, in elections scheduled for mid-2010. He also promised that he would step down as party chairman should the Civic Democrats lose that election.
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