Saturday, 18 November 2017

Slowing down ČSSD's fall would be good in European context

ČTK |
1 June 2017

Prague, May 31 (CTK) - The Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) can markedly slow down its fall if it manages well its campaign before the October general election, which will be not little in the context of Europe where the socialists are not faring well, Pavel Saradin writes in Lidove noviny (LN) on Wednesday.

According to the media, the party leaders are very nervous now that the party's voter support has dropped to 14 percent in the latest public opinion polls, he writes.

A better election campaign may earn the party higher figures, but it is true that the position of Social Democracy in other countries is not better either, Saradin writes.

In the Austrian presidential election a social democrat candidate did not advance to the run-off vote, gaining 11 percent of the vote. In the Dutch elections, the Labour Party only gained 6 percent of the vote and lost 29 mandates, Saradin writes.

He writes that the Spanish socialists have lost a half of voters during the past eight years, the socialist candidate in the French presidential election only came fifth and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) is losing to the Christian Democrats (CDU) before the forthcoming election. It won a general election in 2005 the last time, Saradin writes.

The Slovak nation-orientated Smer-Social Democracy has been doing well, while the socialists' support in Poland is negligible and in Hungary, the socialists have been in opposition for a second term in succession. In Slovenia, Social Democrats only won 6 percent of the vote in the latest election in 2014, Saradin writes.

This makes it evident that the CSSD is not only fighting against its problems, but also against declining support across Europe, Saradin writes.

He writes that the Social Democrat movement has largely exhausted itself and the original voters are switching over to other, often populist parties, which is also due to the fact that people are losing their certainties in the open global society.

Social Democrats in Europe have made a lot of mistakes. They have failed to ensure social equality for their voters, which makes segments below the middle class feel damaged, Saradin writes.

The CSSD can raise the minimum wage, employees' salaries and pensions, and it can introduce new social benefits, reject tuition and hospital fees, but this is not probably enough for its former voters, Saradin writes.

But the nervousness many show would be slightly lower if they realised that the crisis of their party is also a crisis of European Social Democracy, Saradin writes.

If other similar parties in the West are failing to table new mobilisation topics, the situation will not probably be different in this country either, Saradin writes.

After the regional elections last autumn, in which the CSSD did not fare well, Prime Minister and CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka was pondering on which groups of voters the CSSD should focus, Saradin writes.

Should it focus on supporters from among "workers and employers," or on "city liberals?" The very accommodating, if not servile letter sent by four top representatives of the country, including Sobotka, to representatives of the communist officials of China last autumn discouraged young people and city liberals, Saradin writes.

He writes that public opinion polls eventually showed that about one fifth of CSSD voters went over to the ANO movement of former finance minister Andrej Babis.

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