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Czech News in English » News » Politics » Minister calls ČSSD's internal election rules undemocratic

Minister calls ČSSD’s internal election rules undemocratic

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Prague, Aug 19 (CTK) – Jiri Dienstbier, the Czech minister for human rights and legislation from the Social Democratic Party (CSSD), yesterday challenged the party’s draft regional election rules as undemocratic and said he would promote a draft of his own.
The draft rules, submitted by the CSSD central leadership with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka at the head, goes counter to the party statutes and the result of the party’s internal referendum from 2014, Dienstbier said at a seminar about election rules, staged by the group.
If the draft rules took effect, “the CSSD rank-and-file would have no power to decide on anything. The lists of election candidates would be completed by the [party] executive committees in the respective regions and members would only be able to uphold it without a real chance to change the order [of the candidates],” Dienstbier said.
He warned that lawsuits might be filed to challenge the new election rules and the validity of the lists of candidates.
According to the draft rules, which the CSSD Central Executive Committee is to approve in September, the CSSD election leaders in individual regions will continue to be chosen by the party’s central board together with regional heads, though the CSSD members previously said in an internal referendum that they want to decide on the lists of candidates.
The proposed rules, however, only enable the rank-and-file to change the order of the candidates on the lists from the second position down.
Common members will only be able to uphold the nomination of the regional election leaders as proposed by the central leadership.
Dienstbier wants that the right to propose election leaders and candidates is also given to groups of CSSD members, apart from the party bodies.
He wants the rank-and-file to be empowered to choose the election leaders and determine the order of the candidates on the lists.
“The rank-and-file should really propose and vote, really decide,” Dienstbier said.
Addressed by daily Pravo, political analyst Jan Bures criticised the CSSD’s draft rules last week.
“Evidently, the heads of regional branches have the main say in the CSSD. They do not want to lose their right to decide on the lists of election candidates. It is a big disappointment and a betrayal of the party’s rank-and-file. It will bring no democracy to the party. Nothing will actually change,” the paper quoted Bures as saying.
The CSSD local, district and regional branches will only vote on the candidates in lower positions. If receiving 30 percent of preferential votes at least, a candidate would jump to a higher position on the list.
“It is rather improbable for a candidate to receive 30 percent of preferential votes,” Bures said.
In a general election, only 5 percent of preferential votes are enough for a candidate to jump to a higher position on the list, Pravo wrote.

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