Wednesday, 26 July 2017

HN: ČSSD not attractive, members look up to Zeman

ČTK |
19 October 2016

Prague, Oct 18 (CTK) - No wonder that rank-and-file Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) look up to President Milos Zeman as their party has been rather unsuccessful in the recent elections and it does not seem attractive to common people, David Klimes writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) on Tuesday.

Zeman was CSSD leader in 1993-2001.

Klimes says the proposed resignation of Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek (CSSD) tells all about the situation in the party and it symbolises its decline.

It was absurd when Mladek connected his remaining in the cabinet with victory in a Senate ward in which he repeatedly lost. But Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) did not accept Mladek's resignation on Monday. If Sobotka had accepted his resignation, the Social Democrats would not have had a single economic expert in the government and he would have underlined the minister's defeat by an utterly unknown candidate from the rival ANO movement, Klimes writes.

Sobotka is well aware that many CSSD rank and file admire Zeman, despite the alarming number of the president's collisions. Zeman is the last Social Democrat who managed to make the party popular among more than 30 percent of the voters, Klimes says.

After the recent regional and Senate elections, the number of CSSD officials who lost their posts markedly increased. These people, including the outgoing regional governors, are angry. Outgoing senator and political veteran Zdenek Skromach will certainly start criticising Sobotka. South Bohemia Governor Jiri Zimola, the rising star in the CSSD, already consulted Zeman at the presidential seat, Klimes writes.

Has Sobotka offered any antidote to Zeman? None at all, apart from ignoring reality. He only claims that the elections showed that CSSD politicians close to Zeman were not successful, which proved that cooperation with Zeman would be fruitless, Klimes says.

This may be true, but the point is that voters who were deciding between the Social Democrats and the Communists (KSCM) are massively moving to the ANO movement of billionaire Andrej Babis, Klimes writes.

He says Sobotka must know well what made the CSSD popular in the 1990s when Zeman led the party.

Long time ago, Zeman said the voters who supported the far-right Republican Party of Miroslav Sladek were nothing but social democrats who have gone wild. Zeman made the CSSD a victorious party only when he succeeded in winning over the voters of the Republicans and the Communists, Klimes writes.

He says Sobotka who gets inspired by the election programmes of the Greens and the Pirates is absolutely uninteresting for these voters.

Retired politician Petr Pithart, former prime minister and Senate speaker, recently called on Sobotka to be more courageous. But courage has no point when Sobotka lacks any attractive programme, and the social democrats are again going wild and moving to various populist parties, Klimes writes.

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