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MfD: Former Czech PM Paroubek wants to return to politics

ČTK |
2 December 2016

Prague, Dec 1 (CTK) - Former Czech prime minister Jiri Paroubek is considering returning to politics and to the Social Democratic Party (CSSD) whose leader he was in 2006-2010, dailies Lidove noviny (LN) and Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) write on Thursday.

Paroubek told the dailies that he is negotiating with CSSD local branches about his possible comeback.
"I have received several offers. In the CSSD, a new member must join a local branch. Negotiations are held in several places and I am considering it," he said about his possible membership.

Paroubek, 64, left the CSSD in 2011 when he founded LEV 21 - National Socialists. This new left-wing party failed to succeed in politics and Paroubek left politics in 2014.

"My former party seems to need some support," he told LN, adding that he might provide support for the CSSD in various forms.

Paroubek said the CSSD has recently been falling. "If this trend is going to continue, the party will win 10 to 12 percent of the vote in 11 months," he said about the general election due in late 2017.

MfD writes that the Social Democrats have no strong election leader in the Liberec Region.
A source from the CSSD said Paroubek has a summer cottage in this region and he knows it well and he could be an election leader even as an unaffiliated candidate.

The source indicated that the CSSD leadership that has the final say on all lists of candidates would not like Paroubek as a regional election leader. "But who would dare delete a former prime minister who saved the CSSD in 2005?" the source said.

Paroubek became prime minister in 2005 when CSSD leader Stanislav Gross was forced to resign due to his financial scandal and he managed to markedly increase the CSSD popularity within a few months. However, CSSD ended up in opposition in 2006 after it was narrowly beaten by the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS). Paroubek stepped down as CSSD leader immediately after the 2010 election in which the party failed to win.

CSSD lawmaker Jaroslav Foldyna said somebody like Paroubek might definitely help Social Democrats. "Politicians of his temperament are clearly on demand. It is up to Jirka (Paroubek) whether he learnt a lesson from what happened," Foldyna told MfD.

Nicknamed Bulldozer, Paroubek became known as a resolute politician, which also made him a lot of enemies. The CSSD got indebted due to the grandiose election campaign that he waged in 2010. A part of the CSSD politicians consider present party leader, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, too liberal and too weak.

Some CSSD politicians would prefer Paroubek to play the role of an aide, while others have not forgiven him that he left the party and founded a new one, MfD writes.

"I can help with my experience to improve the political position of the CSSD. I may be a mere voter, a member or I may play even a bigger role," Paroubek said.

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