Friday, 15 December 2017

Leading Social Democrats are against Paroubek's comeback

ČTK |
19 June 2017

Prague, June 18 (CTK) - Former Czech Prime Minister and leader of Social Democrats (CSSD) Jiri Paroubek will not be accepted again to the party, CSSD election leader Lubomir Zaoralek told journalists today, reacting to Paroubek's plan to re-enter it.

Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the CSSD should not admit the people who had repeatedly attacked it.

Paroubek said if he were in their place, he would try to use every hand offering help.

"I do not think that he (Paroubek) is returning to the CSSD," Zaoralek said.

"If Paroubek were to return to the party, the Prague branch would have to agree with it. As far as I know, it is making quite clear that it is not interested in his return," Zaoralek said.

Paroubek said he was not disappointed at the reactions.

"I expected Sobotka to be as consistent as the apparatchiks from the Prague party organisation. Perhaps they are satisfied with the state in which the party is finding itself," Paroubek said.

Social Democrats' latest poll ratings have plunged to the mere 10 percent.

"If I am just an ordinary member, I will not threaten their power ambitions on which they insist. At the moment I do not care about what they think," Paroubek said.

He said his acceptance should be up to the members of local organisations.

"We should not return to the past with the people who repeatedly attacked the party and who were trying to form rival parties," Sobotka said.

This would not be a good message for the public, he added.

Zaoralek said after Paroubek had left the CSSD, he received a number of offers of posts from it, but he decided to establish his own party, called LEV 21, with which he ran against the Social Democrats.

Paroubek has submitted his application form in Cerhenice, a small town in Central Bohemia. Its branch is to discuss his bid on June 26.

Its members called on Paroubek to enter the party.

Paroubek said the Cerhenice organisation was not the only to have offered him the party membership.

Marek Semerad, chairman of the Cerhenice local party branch, said it would perhaps ask for Paroubek's entry repeatedly.

"We understand that Paroubek is a controversial personality, but we think that his return would help the whole party, because it does not have many personalities and everyone has a right to make a mistake," Semerad said.

Paroubek's bid may be rejected by the Prague Social Democrat branch. Under the party rules, his original branch party organisation must give a go-ahead to his return.

Party deputy chairman Petr Dolinek, leader of the Prague list of candidates for the October general election, said he disagreed with Paroubek's comeback.

"In the case of Paroubek, I am not for his return. In the past, he decided to connect his public activities with a different project," Dolinek said.

Paroubek, who will turn 65 in August, entered the renewed CSSD, banned by the Communist regime, in 1989.

In the early 1990s, he became its central secretary and contested the post of party leader against current President Milos Zeman in 1993, but failed.

He was the prime minister between April 25, 2005 and September 4, 2006. In May 13, 2006, he was elected the CSSD leader.

In May 29, 2010, he resigned as CSSD leader over the party's bad general election results and left the post on June 6, 2010.

In October 2011, he said he would leave the party and founded the party National Socialists-21st Century Left (LEV 21), but it did not succeed in any election.

In 2014, Paroubek withdrew from politics.

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