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Běhounek to seek ČSSD chairmanship on certain conditions

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Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, Nov 19 (CTK) – Jiri Behounek, governor of the Vysocina Region, announced at the Social Democrat (CSSD) broad leadership’s meeting on Sunday that he might run for the post of CSSD head on certain conditions such as the return to high party posts by some previously ousted officials.

Behounek’s candidacy is complicated by the fact that he is not a member of the CSSD but was elected governor as an unaffiliated candidate running for the CSSD.

At the meeting on Sunday, he named former CSSD regional governors Jiri Zimola and Michal Hasek, and former CSSD deputies’ group chairman Jeronym Tejc as those he wants to return to leading positions. In the past months, these officials were ousted or withdrew within internal tensions and disputes in the CSSD, in which the current members of the CSSD board finally prevailed.

The current board will offer its resignation at the CSSD’s upcoming election congress in reaction to the CSSD’s fiasco in the October general election.

CSSD deputy chairman Jan Birke said he will most probably not seek re-election.

The post of CSSD head has been vacant since PM Bohuslav Sobotka’s resignation from the post several months ago. The party has been led by its statutory deputy chairman, outgoing Interior Minister Milan Chovanec.

Behounek said he is ready to consider running for chairmanship, but he insists on the party forgetting about the old animosities and reproaches, starting using information technologies and dealing with the problem of its headquarters, the Lidovy dum house in Prague.

The CSSD sees a steep decline in its revenues due to its poor election result.

Behounek said the party cannot resurrect without the help of the previously ousted officials. He mentioned Zimola, Hasek and Tejc, who secretly met President Milos Zeman after the CSSD’s victory in the October 2013 general election to plan ousting Bohuslav Sobotka as CSSD chairman and future prime minister.

Neither Hasek nor Tejc want to return to the party leadership, however, they said.

Behounek was encouraged to speak of his possible candidacy by Pardubice Region Governor Martin Netolicky (CSSD), who proposed that the party change its statutes so that they no longer contain the condition of four-year CSSD membership of candidates for the posts of chairperson and deputy chairpersons.

The CSSD’s South Bohemian branch called for the party’s financial stabilisation even at the cost of selling Lidovy dum and said the party’s good condition is more valuable than its ownership of a complex of buildings at an attractive Prague address.

The South Bohemian CSSD also called on the CSSD to behave modestly and show tolerance. For example, it should openly back homosexual couples’ partnership, the branch wrote in a letter.

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