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FILE PHOTO - Czech Republic Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka speaks during the news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo


PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will not deliver his cabinet's resignation to the president on Thursday but he remains committed to resigning in mid-May, a government spokesman said.

Sobotka announced on Tuesday that he and his government would step down less than six months before its term finishes to resolve a long-running dispute with billionaire Finance Minister Andrej Babis, his main political rival.

The Social Democrat leader was supposed to hand in the resignation at 1315 GMT, effective mid-May.

"Today, the prime minister will be at the Castle, where he will consult on the situation with the president, he will tell the president about a planned solution, give him an analysis (on the finance minister's conduct) and he will set the date for delivering the resignation," Martin Ayrer said.

He said the date should be set in the second half of May, after President Milos Zeman's return from an official visit to China, scheduled for May 11-18.

Sobotka's Social Democrats, Babis' ANO party and the Christian Democrats have sought to avoid a snap election and find a way to steer the country towards a scheduled vote in October after Sobotka's surprise resignation announcement.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting