Christian Democrats ready to start coalition talks with embattled Social Democrat leader

The ANO party of food magnate Andrej Babiš and the Christian Democrats say they are ready to hold coalition talks with the embattled leader of the Social Democrats Bohuslav Sobotka, whose party won the elections by a small margin. This is seen as a significant show of support for Mr. Sobotka whose position at the head of the party has been challenged by party rivals close to President Miloš Zeman. Following a vote by the party’s executive leadership Mr. Sobotka was dropped from the party’s negotiating team on Sunday, but he has refused to be sidelined from the talks saying he has the mandate to represent the party and would lead parallel negotiations if necessary.