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Czech News in English » News » Politics » HN: Communists' rehabilitation inevitable, task for ČSSD

HN: Communists’ rehabilitation inevitable, task for ČSSD

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Prague, Feb 20 (CTK) – Rehabilitation of Communists (KSCM) has been an inevitable trend in the Czech Republic since the 1989 fall of communism, and it has made the Social Democrats (CSSD) admit the possibility of forming a government with the KSCM now, David Klimes writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN) yesterday.
In 1995, the Social Democrats were still sure that the Communist party, which nearly destroyed the CSSD in 1921 and then successfully did so in 1948, is extremist. In their Bohumin Resolution, the CSSD vowed to shun cooperation with the KSCM, Klimes writes.
Shunned by all parties in parliament, the KSCM has stayed in opposition since 1989.
No other political leader contributed to the rehabilitation of the Communists as much as Bohuslav Sobotka in his capacity of the current CSSD chairman (since 2011) and Czech prime minister (since 2014), Klimes writes.
After the regional elections in 2012, Sobotka opened the CSSD to cooperation with the KSCM on the level of the regional governments. Last autumn, he admitted for the first time that the CSSD might form a national government with the KSCM, but he still named the KSCM’s loyalty to NATO and the EU as a condition, Klimes writes.
Now, half a year later, Sobotka is not setting any conditions any longer. He says the CSSD must preferentially focus on “problems faced by ordinary people,” Klimes writes.
This reminds of the speech that the former Communist leader, Klement Gottwald, gave during the Communist coup in February 1948. He, too, asserted that nothing was actually happening in politics and that people should calmly return to work, Klimes writes.
True, making the KSCM legitimate again after 1989 has been an inevitable trend, and the CSSD has always known it is up to it to gradually offer small portions of power, one after another, to the KSCM, Klimes writes.
Sobotka is undoubtedly right when he calls the Bohumin Resolution obsolete after more than 20 years. However, previously everyone supposed that the KSCM’s rehabilitation will exclusively depend on the willingness and generosity of the CSSD. Sobotka’s current behaviour is far from such scenario. It rather reminds of his forced-out yielding to the Communist comrades with the aim to show that a left-wing bloc is emerging against Finance Minister Andrej Babis’s ANO movement, with joint voter preferences equal to ANO’s, Klimes writes.
This vision enables Sobotka to continue dreaming, theoretically at least, of keeping the post of prime minister after the October general election, Klimes writes.
For many years now, the CSSD has been convinced that the KSCM is a “toxic” party with which no one else would ever ally, except for the CSSD. However, when Babis, a former communist, entered politics with his ANO movement in the early 2010s, he found out that there are 10 to 15 percent of “unused” loyal Communist voters and he decided to gain their support, Klimes writes.
Last September, Babis said it is impossible to pretend that the votes of Communist supporters have no weight. First, he asserted that ANO might form a national government with the KSCM. After he realised that he had “overdone it a bit,” he started speaking of ANO-KSCM cooperation in regional governments only, Klimes writes.
The CSSD, nevertheless, saw that it must do its utmost for ANO not to thwart the CSSD-KSCM cooperation prospect, Klimes writes.
That is why Sobotka, who, as a teenage politician, assisted in restoring the CSSD in the early 1990s, is now doing his best to win favour of the KSCM, Klimes writes.
The KSCM-proposed bills have started miraculously sailing through the Chamber of Deputies. The KSCM’s rising self-confidence can be illustrated by its promotion of repressive bills that are reminiscent of the communist regime by introducing punishments for work-shyness or the defamation of the president, Klimes writes.
The KSCM was expected to prevail on the Czech scene after last autumn’s regional elections already, when the CSSD expected to keep most of its seats of regional governors in exchange of yielding a bigger portion of power to the KSCM. The plan fell through, however, since ANO won the polls and the KSCM failed, but the original goal may be achieved in the general election late this year, Klimes writes.
The CSSD wants the KSCM for an ally in order to keep the post of prime minister. In the same way, ANO unscrupulously wants to form a government with anyone at hand, including the KSCM, Klimes writes.
The KSCM will be a very interesting potential government partner for both the CSSD and ANO, unless it suffers an unexpected failure in the October election, he writes.
Let Czechs hope that Communist red flags will not be hoisted at some ministries as a result of the late 2017 government-forming talks. A chance still exists for the country to avoid a “red February of 2018” and have a new government comprised of democratic parties only, Klimes adds.

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