Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia, April 7 (CTK) – The congress of the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) chose regional governor Martin Netolicky, lawmakers Jaroslav Foldyna and and regional politician Jana Fialova its new deputy chairpersons today.
In February, when the first part of the congress was held, Jan Hamacek was elected the party’s new chairman and Jiri Zimola the first deputy chairman.
The CSSD decided to replace its leadership after it defended only 15 of its 50 seats in the 200-member lower house of parliament in the general election last autumn, which has been the worst result in the party’s history.
In the first round of the vote today, Fialova won the strongest mandate, receiving support from 287 of 458 delegates, followed by Foldyna (255) and Netolicky (245).
Onderka was supported by 230 delegates, which was not enough. He was elected only in the second round. Olomouc Mayor Antonin Stanek was six votes short of election in the second round.
In February, Onderka, former mayor of Brno, lost the fight for first deputy chairman with Zimola.
The congress decided that fifth post of deputy head would temporarily remain unoccupied until the broad leadership selected the politician to fill it.
Foldyna, a conservative socialist close to President Milos Zeman, said the CSSD lost voters because it was too unified in the last few years. Making the party more colourful would help it regain voters, he said, adding that CSSD politicians should arouse emotions.
Netolicky said he wants to focus on the regions and on cooperation with CSSD regional and local politicians. He, too, appreciated it that the party is returning to the model in which its different wings are represented in the leadership.
Fialova said she had the feeling until now that the party leading were celebrating, while the rank-and-file were dealing with the party’s crisis.
Hamacek is the only one member of the new leadership who was present in the old leadership elected in February 2017.
Former prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who was re-elected party chairman in February 2017, resigned from the post four months later. The first deputy chairman Milan Chovanec then temporarily headed the CSSD. Lubomir Zaoralek and Michaelova Marksova, who were ministers in Sobotka’s cabinet like Chovanec, left the posts of CSSD deputy heads at the congress two months ago, same as MPs Jan Birke and Petr Dolinek. Sobotka recently left politics.