Zeman Slams Sobotka: Poor Leadership to Blame for Downfall of CSSD

Hradec Kralove, East Bohemia , Feb 18 (CTK) – The preferences of Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) fell so much because the party did not have a strong personality at its head, President Milos Zeman said at the party’s congress today, hinting at former party leader and prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka.


The Social Democrats only received 7.3 percent of the vote in the October general election.


Zeman recommended to the Social Democrats that they select a real personality, not any boring civil servant, as their new party leader.


Zeman told the delegates that his explanation of the continuing decline might be simplifying, but still truthful.


In fact, the public only knows the leader of any party. Either he is able to win over voters or he is repulsive, lacking any charisma, Zeman said.


“Since I do not want to speak specifically about Sobotka, let me choose Miroslav Kalousek instead,” Zeman said.


He said Kalousek, former leader of the right-wing TOP 09, was a repulsive party leader from the right part of the political spectrum.


“In other words, you only received the 7 percent because you were not headed by a personality,” Zeman said.


Zeman cited as an example French President Emmanuel Macron who won as a personality, while voters had no idea about his surrounding.


Sobotka stepped down last June, arguing with the party’s falling preferences.


The role of election leader was then assumed by former Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek.


Sobotka did not come to the congress. His absence was criticised by his former rival and South Moravia regional governor Michal Hasek.


“It is a pity that he is not here. I expected him to come and try to defend the time when he headed the party and government. I expected him to come and say something,” Hasek told journalists.