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PM warns against ČSSD’s internal conflicts, calls for unity

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Prague, Nov 10 (CTK) – Czech PM and Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Bohuslav Sobotka called yesterday on the CSSD to unite since internal quarrels and accusations weaken its energy.
Sobotka was reacting to Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD) who criticised several party colleagues for having demanded his departure from the cabinet.
Dienstbier wrote on Twitter earlier yesterday that “in the ministerial Russian roulette, my dismissal has been demanded by the putschists from Lany, [Jeronym] Tejc and [Jiri] Zimola, together with the Prague mafia including money launderer [Miroslav] Poche and fraudster [Karel] Brezina.”
He alluded to Sobotka’s heralded plan to replace some of the CSSD’s eight ministers and to commentators’ opinion that Dienstbier will be among those replaced.
By the “Lany putsch,” Dienstbier meant a secret meeting of five CSSD high officials, including Tejc and Zimola, with President Milos Zeman in the Lany chateau in the wake of the 2013 general election, after which Sobotka’s opponents in the CSSD unsuccessfully attempted to oust him from the post-election talks and prevent his installation as prime minister.
Poche, now a MEP, and Brezina are the CSSD’s influential politicians in Prague.
Sobotka told CTK that the CSSD should “steer the boat jointly.”
“We will face a hard election battle next year, which will decide on whether the country will embark on the path of oligarchisation or keep its democratic and socially responsible principles,” Sobotka said, referring to the general election due next autumn.
He said the CSSD must be strong and united.
“Quarrels and accusations only weaken the CSSD’s energy, which it needs more than ever before,” he said.
In reaction to the CSSD’s failure in the October regional and Senate elections, Sobotka said he wants to make personnel changes in the cabinet by the beginning of December.
He said yesterday that further changes will follow.
“We have to focus on crucial topics promoted by the CSSD, fundamentally change the way we communicate our work, conduct a programme discussion and prepare for the [party’s] congress in March and for the elections,” Sobotka said.
Earlier yesterday, Sobotka came under criticism from the platform, whose members supported him after the “Lany putsch” three years ago.
They said they consider Sobotka’s present conduct the culmination of a long-lasting crisis in the social democratic movement.
Sobotka is yet to announce the names of the ministers to be replaced. The media most often speculate about Dienstbier, Health Minister Svatopluk Nemecek and Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova.
The other two government parties, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), have refused to replace their ministers.

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