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Právo: Major parties must stop anti-political parties’ rise

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Prague, Oct 23 (CTK) – Czech mainstream parties will either slow down the rise of anti-political parties such as Andrej Babis’s ANO movement, or they will be further weakened, which will entail a personnel revolution, Lukas Jelinek writes in the Saturday issue of daily Pravo.
This has become urgent against the background of the recent regional and Senate elections, in which the senior government Social Democratic Party (CSSD), the rightist opposition TOP 09 and the leftist opposition Communists (KSCM) suffered a defeat.
Jelinek writes that the CSSD’s failure has again brought to the surface the tension between the leadership and regions and between the loyal supporters of the party chairman and Prime Minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, and the group that wanted to demote him after the early general election in 2013 already, Jelinek writes.
The attempt to remove Sobotka was made at a meeting of a few CSSD members with President Milos Zeman in Lany, the presidential country seat.
Sobotka, who is allegedly resolved to defend himself and his policy, makes a rather confused impression, oscillating between calls for modernisation of the party and its freeing of the influence of President Milos Zeman on the one hand and the praising of China after the example of Zeman, which is not much modern, Jelinek writes.
Jelinek writes that one of the Lany meeting participants, Jeronym Tejc, said in Friday’s issue of Pravo that the party should elect its chairperson in a vote of the rank-and-file by which Sobotka would test his authority.
Jelinek writes that the direct election of the party head was embedded in the statutes when the CSSD was headed by Jiri Paroubek in 2006-10, but it was later quit.
However, if Sobotka agreed with the direct election [which he rejected later on Friday], he would probably win, but not smoothly, Jelinek writes.
In addition, the CSSD would cost the party of a lot of time and cause deep divisions, which would be far from desirable before the general election in October 2017, Jelinek writes.
However, the fact that Sobotka may feel sure of his position is not good. The party does have a few distinctive and charismatic members, but none of them is a type of leader who would appeal to both traditional and new voters, Jelinek writes.
He writes that the situation on the other side of the political spectrum is the same. Many know that TOP 09 will rather decline than rise with Miroslav Kalousek at its head, but the party lacks a personality of the stature of the former chairman, Karel Schwarzenberg.
Kalousek’s party fellow members thoroughly grilled him on Thursday and eventually supported him. They know that a negative advertisement is better than none, and there is no one else but Kalousek who could attract attention, Jelinek writes.
To make the picture complete, it should be said that some communists from Ostrava, north Moravia, demanded the resignation of paprty head of Vojtech Filip, Jelinek writes.
However, the party’s central committee eventually decided to not change the leadership on Saturday.
Jelinek writes that opponents of party leaders are already planning the removal of their leaders after a possible further defeat.
They would replace them with second-rate persons who would make it easy for Babis to beat them, which would be a very bad report for the mainstream parties. They neglected the bringing up their successors by which they are co-responsible for their own future, Jelinek writes.
ms/t

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