Sunday, 22 October 2017

Právo: No wonder Czech PM Sobotka is leaving top party politics

ČTK |
20 July 2017

Prague, July 19 (CTK) - Bohuslav Sobotka's legacy is fading away still before he leaves the office of the Czech prime minister and it is no wonder that he has decided to vacate the scene after the October general election, Lukas Jelinek writes in daily Pravo today.

Sobotka, who quit the post of CSSD chairman over the party's steeply decreasing voter preferences in mid-June, told CTK on Tuesday that he wants to stay an active party member, but that he has no ambition to return to its leadership.

Jelinek writes that the CSSD, which used to have a stable voter support and a clear future, does not know how it will end in the election, whether it will stay in the government, or whether it will go to opposition, and who will lead it. This opens up space for anarchy.

Sobotka has started a series of meetings with the ministers of his coalition government to review their work at ministries, but the purpose of this is doubtful, Jelinek writes.

Will he have enough forces to criticise a member of the ruling coalition of the CSSD, the ANO movement and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL)? Jelinek asks and adds that on the contrary, some ministers, including his party fellow members, may scold him.

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova (CSSD) recently complained of relations with her government colleagues.

The health minister and head of the Prague CSSD, Miloslav Ludvik, seems to be embittered by the party having preferred CSSD deputy chairman Petr Dolinek as leader of its Prague list of candidates in the general election, which means that he will not be running in the election at all.

The CSSD election leader and foreign minister, Lubomir Zaoralek, is critical of the anti-smoking law pushed through by the government and he is unhappy about that some legislation passed aims at small businesses while the large rejoice, Jelinek writes.

He writes that this type of criticism was taken up on Tuesday by Plzen Governor Josef Bernard, who is considered a talented player of the party.

He is opposed to excessive bureaucracy, he wants free business and as few regulations as possible. What he minds most is the ANO-promoted sales electronic registration (EET), which he says was introduced at an incorrect moment, Jelinek writes.

He writes that a legitimate debate can be conducted on all these things, but the problem is that the voter does not know what the CSSD actually aims at.

Is it what the CSSD was fighting for in the government, or what its representatives speak about in the election campaign? Jelinek asks.

To top it all, CSSD officials from the Pardubice Region defended Andrej Babis, leader of the ANO movement which is the election favourite, against Petr Fiala, chairman of the rightist opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) on the pages of Pravo's Tuesday issue, Jelinek writes.

They said voters, "not representatives of marginal parties, including the ODS" should decide about whether Babis will rule after the election, or not, Jelinek writes.

He writes that the CSSD officials speak about the ODS as a marginal party, while its voter popularity was comparable with the CSSD's in June [when public opinon polls put it at about 10 percent].

In addition, the Pardubice CSSD representatives are sure that Babis at the head of the next government would not do more harm than an ODS-led coalition government, Jelinek writes.

Will they now rebuke Bernard for that he condemns Babis's EET and for using the same rhetoric as the ODS or another rightist opposition party, TOP 09, in the struggle for small businesses? Jelinek asks.

He writes that the CSSD's ideas and plans are strongly colourful. The party lacks a talent for keeping together, which is on what the clarity of the message addressed to citizens depends, Jelinek writes.

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