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ČSSD must talk to voters to turn declining preferences, PM says

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Prague, June 8 (CTK) – The Czech senior government Social Democratic Party (CSSD) must end debates about its regional lists of candidates and start to talk to voters if it wants to turn the decreasing trend of its voter preferences, Prime Minister and party head Bohuslav Sobotka said yesterday.

The party’s board approved the South Bohemia list of candidates, which several people left after former regional governor Jiri Zimola was deleted from it, and Sobotka said he considers the issue closed.

The CSSD board was preparing the party’s special conference to be held on June 17 at which the manifesto for the October 20-21 general election will be presented.

Sobotka would not release the programme points today. He only said the programme will be oriented towards the future.

Sobotka considers the presentation of the manifesto one of the party’s reactions to the drop in its voter preferences.

He said the party will also focus on the presentation of its policy. Sobotka said the CSSD is loaded with government responsibility, but in spite of this, it is trying to organise its work so that politicians may be meeting people.

“I think that the latest polls are one thing and the election result another thing. We could see it in a number of election campaigns that the favourite need not score the best results,” Sobotka said.

The voter preferences of the CSSD, which gained slightly over 20 percent in the early general election in 2013 have been gradually declining since. According to the latest poll conducted by the TNS Kantar agency for public Czech TV, released on June 4, the CSSD would fall to fourth position after the May government crisis. The election would be won by ANO with 31.5 percent, while the CSSD would only gain 10 percent of the vote. The opposition right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) and Communists (KSCM) would come second and third, respectively.

“I think that Social Democracy has a chance of firming its position during the four months (before the election),” Sobotka said.

He said he wants to tell voters that the CSSD pushed through its programme during the four years in government and that it wants to carry on.

“We lent the social democrat face to this government. In fact, it was a government of Social Democracy, though there were three coalition parties. From the point of view of the programme, we were clearly the strongest government party. We may have forgotten to communicate the things, which our partner made use of and he filled the space,” Sobotka said.

The government is comprised of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

Sobotka said he wants to talk in the programme about where the Czehc Republic should move in the fields of salaries, living standards, health care, social services and employment.

“What are the preferences to do here? They simply go up, then drop for a while, but it is the most important what they will be like on October 21,” CSSD deputy chairman and Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said.


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