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Právo: KSČM owes popularity to clever manoeuvring on Czech scene

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Prague, Aug 11 (CTK) – The Communists (KSCM) keep popular with many Czech voters owing to their skilful coexistence with the present democratic political system that they label unacceptable, Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in daily Pravo on Thursday.

In a recent party popularity poll, the KSCM once again beat the rightist Civic Democrats (ODS), a former mainstream and senior government party that led the country’s transformation after the 1989 fall of the Communist regime, Mitrofanov writes.

A part of Czech society are persisting staunch critics of the KSCM. The party, nevertheless, need not fear them because it has enough fans of its own who support its positions, Mitrofanov writes.

The KSCM is a protest party, not a subversive one. It relies on criticising and even rejecting the present political system and the Czech Republic’s membership of international alliances. At the same time, however, the KSCM shows discipline in using political means and methods, Mitrofanov says.

KSCM chairman Vojtech Filip said at the party’s recent congress that Russia, China and Iran are guarantees of peace in the world, Mitrofanov writes.

During the congress debate, some delegates demanded that the party seek rehabilitation of the previous “real socialism” regime, Mitrofanov writes.

Filip was challenged as KSCM chairman by Josef Skala, who is viewed as an advocate of the country’s return before 1989. Nevertheless, the delegates preferred re-electing Filip. Why? Mitrofanov writes.

They did so because Filip is the best in securing the party’s comfortable survival within the system it labels unacceptable.

He skilfully maintains relations with the establishment. He does so visibly in relation to the authoritarian heads of state, or both the incumbent President Milos Zeman and his predecessor Vaclav Klaus. In the Chamber of Deputies, he does so more latently but also effectively for the KSCM’s benefit, Mitrofanov writes.

Filip actively uses his speeches in parliament to spread the KSCM rhetoric, Mitrofanov writes.

Under Filip’s chairmanship, the KSCM entered some of the country’s regional governments in recent years, but no changes to the system followed in any of the regions concerned, Mitrofanov writes.

Before 1989, the Czech Communists were a devoted mouthpiece of their Soviet counterparts, he continues.

The situation is different now. The Russian Communists overtly declare their adherence to the legacy of Joseph Stalin. The KSCM does nothing like this. The Czech Communists are moderate revolutionaries within the bounds of the law, Mitrofanov writes, alluding to Czech early 20th-century author Jaroslav Hasek’s ironic book about an imaginary political party, titled “The Party of Moderate Progress Within the Bounds of the Law”.

The situation in the Czech Republic is not revolutionary, if compared with the Leninist definition of a revolutionary atmosphere. The present Czech Communists abandoned Lenin’s teaching also in many other respects long ago, Mitrofanov writes.

Internationalism or the eradication of conservative positions are no objectives for the KSCM to pursue. The KSCM tends to do just the opposite. Until its approach continues to be shared by a sufficient number of Czech voters, the KSCM will comfortably keep afloat, Mitrofanov concludes.

The KSCM, in opposition since 1989, is the third strongest party in parliament and the strongest in opposition, with 33 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.

Filip, 61, a lawyer by training who is a lower house deputy chairman, has chaired the KSCM since 2005.

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