Shocked and Dismayed by Election Failure – CSSD Calls Emergency Congress to Elect New Leadership

Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, Nov 19 (CTK) – The Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) extraordinary national congress reacting to the party’s failure in the October general election will be held in Hradec Kralove on February 18, the CSSD broad leadership decided today, the party has tweeted.


According to CTK’s information, the leadership rejected a proposal that the CSSD’s new chairperson be elected directly by all members of the party.


As a result, the chairperson will be chosen by the delegates to the extraordinary congress, as has been usual with the party.


The CSSD board originally proposed April 7 as the date of the extraordinary congress, since the CSSD marks 140 years from its establishment on that day.


However, in reaction to party members urging for the congress to be held as soon as possible, the board in early November proposed February 18, a date the broad leadership approved today.


Due to a decline in its revenues as a result of a poor election result, the CSSD will not hire premises for the congress but will hold the congress a building it owns in Hradec Kralove, the centre of east Bohemia.


“Six members of the party’s board will be replaced, while the central executive committee and the broad leadership remain unchanged,” CSSD acting chairman Milan Chovanec told journalists.


He said today’s meeting focused on ways to lead the party out of the current [rather unfavourable situation.


The party board will offer its resignation at the congress, he said.


The CSSD financial director Martin Starec expressed satisfaction at the meeting having approved his proposals concerning the party’s 2018 budget.


The CSSD has to tighten its belt as it lost some 200 million crowns worth of revenues due to its poor election result, Chovanec said.


“The budget revenues and spending are each projected at 137 million crowns, with the maintenance of the structure, employment and the election fund being our priorities,” Starec said.


Chovanec said the CSSD is a financially stable party and it is up to the next leadership what path it will take.


In the October 20-21 general election, the CSSD, the strongest leftist party for many years and the senior partner in the outgoing government, was defending its previous gain of 20.5 percent of the vote, but won only 7.3 percent and mere 15 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.


The upcoming congress is to elect a new party leadership.