Milos Zeman


CSSD’s Claims New Platform is to Save Party – But Priority is Saving Zeman

Prague, (CTK) – A new platform has been founded in the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) to “save the party,” but its initiators, foes of former CSSD head Bohuslav Sobotka, obviously seek Milos Zeman’s re-election as president and high state posts for themselves, Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in Pravo today.


A number of internal platforms mushroomed in the CSSD after its renewal following the fall of the communist regime in 1989. Most of them promoted various positions and ideas such as environment protection or Christianity. In 1992, the so-called Rakovnik stream emerged in the party, led by Jiri Paroubek against Zeman, the then CSSD chairman, Mitrofanov writes.


The Save the CSSD platform presented on Friday is another one established after a pause of 25 years, he writes.


Its protagonists are well-known figures including two of the five participants in the [unsuccessful] “Lany coup” from 2013, former regional governors Jiri Zimola and Michal Hasek, Mitrofanov writes, referring to a secret meeting that five high CSSD officials had with President Zeman in the wake of the October 2013 general election in order to oust the election-winning CSSD’s chairman Sobotka as the next prime minister.


The target of the new platform’s animosity remains the same as then, though Sobotka not only stepped down as CSSD chairman several months ago but has also withdrawn from the party’s central scene. In spite of this, the platform members “spouted fire and brimstone” at him once again on Friday, Mitrofanov writes.


The new “saviours of the CSSD” started their salvation efforts by an attempt to dismantle the CSSD’s previous decision to convoke the party’s extraordinary national congress for February to discuss the causes of its failure in last autumn’s general election and elect its new leadership, Mitrofanov writes.


Zimola proposed on Friday that the congress should not be closed but should continue as a permanent congress, with a new CSSD chairperson being elected by all CSSD members, Mitrofanov writes.


In the same way, all members should decide on whether the CSSD should join or support a government of Andrej Babis’s ANO, the winner of the October general election, he writes.


It is not known whether Zimola, former South Bohemia Region governor, knows Leon Trotsky, but he evidently follows the latter’s example, though in a minor scale, promoting only a permanent congress instead of Trotsky’s permanent revolution, Mitrofanov writes.


It is not clear whether this should save the CSSD, but the platform members clearly said they want to save Zeman as president for another five-year term, Mitrofanov continues.


However, Zeman has not only been struggling against the CSSD for many years, using all opportunities to thwart its work, but recently, he has even served Babis, who is the main rival of the CSSD, Mitrofanov writes.


The saviours’ platform gives opaque answers as to whether the CSSD should join a government of Babis, while Zeman says that if the current minority cabinet of ANO fails to win lawmakers’ confidence next week, he will give another try to Babis again, whose second government will be supported by the CSSD and the Communists (KSCM). This makes the impression that coordinated efforts are underway aimed to bring high state posts to “the saviours,” Mitrofanov writes.


The platform’s organisers have convoked a meeting of their fans in Tabor, south Bohemia, for January 20. True, they are skilled rhetors. In the meantime, CSSD outgoing deputy chairman Jan Birke released the party’s (not the platform’s) position on Babis’s latest juggling with the wages of public transport bus drivers.


Birke wrote that Babis’s statements on the issue stirred up chaos. In reaction to Babis’s search for sources to finance regional road repairs, Birke said the CSSD had come up with a solution as early as last year, Mitrofanov writes.


It is steps like Birke’s that should be taken to save the CSSD, Mitrofanov concludes.