Sunday, 27 September 2020

Zaorálek wants to win elections, be ČSSD leader

ČTK |
31 July 2017

Prague, July 29 (CTK) - Social Democrat (CSSD) new election leader Lubomir Zaoralek wants to win the Czech general election due in October and run for the party's chairman, he told Saturday's issue of daily Pravo.

"My aim is to develop a clear profile of the CSSD. To return the party where it belongs. To make it the major party on the (Czech) political scene. We had (preferences of) 20 to 30 percent. I want to win the elections," he told the paper.

However, opinion polls indicated that the ANO movement of Andrej Babis would win the elections with a double-digit lead and that the CSSD may be also overcome by the Communists (KSCM) and the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS). The CSSD may win 10 to 15 percent of the vote, the latest polls showed.

Due to plummeting preferences, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka gave up the posts of party chairman and election leader in June. The CSSD is temporarily headed by Milan Chovanec.

Zaoralek, the outgoing Czech foreign minister, told Pravo he considered the forthcoming election a battle that would show who can win over voters. He indicated that success in the elections would prove that he was a good leader of the party.

He said he would do his utmost to make higher salaries the main issue of the election campaign.

He said people leave the Czech Republic due to low salaries. An economy relying on low wages means lagging behind in technology, limited attractiveness for investors and lower quality of work, he said.

People should not be poor in a rich country, Zaoralek pointed out, adding that the Czech Republic is the fifth best country in the world in sustainable development according to U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs.

He praised the country as one that is safe, has very good public services and provides education and medical treatment for all.

"Unless there is a government that destroys the social agreement, which is a real threat given the programmes of the other political parties, we have a chance of moving forward," Zaoralek told Pravo.

He said the CSSD is the only party presenting an economic strategy for the country.

"I can see no consistent political programme among our rivals," Zaoralek said.

He said ANO, the ODS and TOP 09 want to cut social insurance fees and taxes and actually repeat the right-wing politics performed in the country in the late 2000s and the early 2010s. "First they would lower taxes and then say there is not enough money for pensions, health care and education... They say they would carry out big reforms of the pension system, which they label unsustainable. This is of course a lie," he said.

Zaoralek said health care must not become part of business. "Those who say they want competition among medical facilities are criminals," he added.

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