Prague, Feb 5 (CTK) – The Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) must return to its leftist essence, Miroslav Krejcik, former military intelligence head and one of the candidates for CSSD chairman, has told CTK, adding that a discrepancy between the CSSD’s words and steps contributed to its election failure last year.
Krejcik, who is currently director of the Prague-based Postal Printing House of Securities, criticised the fact that the candidates seeking the top CSSD post include the leaders who brought the party to its recent decline.
“Those who led the party…are waking up now and saying they would try it once more. I find this unfortunate,” Krejcik said.
The bidders who will seek chairmanship at the CSSD election congress on February 18 include the party’s current acting chairman, Milan Chovanec, CSSD deputy chairman and lower house deputy chairman Jan Hamacek, former South Bohemian regional governor Jiri Zimola and Olomouc Mayor Antonin Stanek.
Krejcik said the atmosphere was quite stormy at the recent conferences of the party’s regional branches, which met to propose their nominees for chairman. Rank-and-file members do not conceal their dissatisfaction with the state of affairs and want to know how to improve the situation, he said.
Krejcik, a general in reserve, said the party has had a weak leader in the long run, which is why he wants to offer his experiences to the delegates at the congress.
He said he wants the CSSD to regain its character of a mass party with tens of thousands of fans at least. It should present itself as a purely leftist party, he said.
The CSSD’s failure in the October 2017 general election, in which the party gained only 15 seats in the 200-seat parliament, compared to its previous 50, was a result of a series of mistakes the CSSD made, such as the internal squabbling over political posts instead of values and its incapability of self-reflection and backpedalling, Krejcik said.
He said after the congress, it is necessary to the CSSD mark, regain confidence for the party and pursue realistic policy.
Krejcik said he can imagine the CSSD being a part of the government.
At President Milos Zeman’s request, new government-forming talks have been launched by Andrej Babis, leader of the election-winning ANO movement, whose first one-party minority government failed to win parliament’s confidence in January.
ANO, with 78 lower house seats, is seeking partners to join or tolerate its new cabinet.
CSSD representatives say it is up to the party’s congress to decide whether to negotiate with ANO on government cooperation.
“If the negotiations led to the CSSD’s government entry, I would like it if the CSSD played a dignified role in it, being not submissive or kowtowing, but sovereign and cooperating,” Krejcik said.
He said much can be achieved through negotiating the government’s policy statement or through a gentlemen’s agreement.
In January, Chovanec set several conditions ANO would have to meet for the CSSD to launch negotiations with it. Chovanec demanded, for example, that ANO give up the ministries of interior, justice and finance.
Krejcik said if he were elected CSSD chairman, he would start negotiations from the very beginning. “The [Chovanec’s] conditions were set in a situation where the CSSD has no chairman,” he said.
From the point of view of the CSSD’s programme, it would be advantageous for the party to seek the post of the labour minister, which corresponds with the party’s goals. “It would not be the ministries of interior or justice. It might be the finance ministry, which, however, is crucial and up to the election winner to control, Krejcik said.