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Czech News in English » News » Politics » Sobotka: New ČSSD platform is based on freedom, solidarity

Sobotka: New ČSSD platform is based on freedom, solidarity

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Prague, Feb 11 (CTK) – The Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) long-term programme is based on the principles of freedom, justice and solidarity, CSSD leader Bohuslav Sobotka said after the party’s central executive committee approved the programme on Saturday.

The forthcoming national election conference of the CSSD will decide on the final version of the programme.

“We are no short-term marketing project,” Prime Minister Sobotka, hinting at the ANO movement of Finance Minister Andrej Babis.

Opinion polls show that ANO has been the most popular party in the country for many months, followed by the CSSD. The general election is due in October.

Sobotka said the Social Democrats wants to defend the interests of employees, families with children, pensioners and people with average incomes.

“It seems important to me to realise that billionaires do not defend the interest of ordinary people,” he said, against referring to the wealthy businessman Babis who is the second richest person in the country according to Czech Forbes magazine.

Despite disputes between ANO and the CSSD, the Social Democrats want the current government, including also the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) to rule until the elections.

Sobotka said the CSSD programme for the autumn election will be based on the long-term programme.

The Czech Republic should be able to compete on the international market based on qualified workers and innovations rather than thanks to low salaries and low taxes, the party declares in its programme.

CSSD deputy chairman Lubomir Zaoralek said Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) wants more unskilled labourers from the East to come to work in the Czech Republic. He said such production based on low-cost manual work is good for company owners such as Babis but not for the development of the national economy.

The Czech Republic must not get on the political and economic periphery, said Zaoralek, who is also foreign minister.

The CSSD wants to prevent exports of capital in form of dividends and reintroduce progressive taxation, it writes in its programme.

“My goal is to cut the tax burden of people with average incomes,” Sobotka said.

In the programme, the CSSD pledges to maintain free education and available public health care. The main security guarantees for the country are its memberships of the European Union and NATO.

Zaoralek said the discussion about the programme lasted about 18 months and the biggest disputes concerned power engineering and industry since there are different opinions on these fields in the CSSD.

The central executive committee also decided that a new post of the party’s economic director will be established so that the CSSD narrow political leadership would not have to deal with the financing.

In practice, Martin Starec will stay in charge of the financial affairs. He will give up the post of CSSD deputy chairman for the economy and become the economic director.

Sobotka said he would appoint Starec in the new post in the next few days.

As a result, the party will have five deputy heads who will all deal with political affairs.

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