Analyst: new leftist political party could weaken Social Democrats

11-10-2011

At one time Jiří Paroubek was one of the most influential politicians in the country, both as prime minister and as leader of the Social Democratic Party: but a poorer result than expected in the 2010 national election spelt his end in the party’s top leadership. Now, the former Social Democrat is moving to found a new party on the political Left, which could provide voters with a new alternative. Earlier I discussed the project with political analyst Vladimíra Dvořáková, who talked about the former party leader’s possible motivation – as well as whether the new project can be a success.

Jiří Paroubek, photo: CTKJiří Paroubek, photo: CTK “He is a politician and an experienced one and he had a certain vision for the Social Democrats, where they should go and an idea of what kind of politics he wanted to conduct. It’s therefore quite understandable that he’s trying to find a different organisation where he can play a greater role and have a chance to do that. The big question is of course whether he can be successful: the party that he will either form on its own or together with the National Socialist Party. I am not sure there is really a chance they can make it into Parliament.”

You mentioned the National Socialist Party: there have been negotiations for Mr Paroubek to work directly with them or for the parties to merge: but that’s still up in the air, isn’t it?

“It is still open: I think the idea is that he will form his own party that will merge with the National Socialists but there was some opposition to that within their party and obstacles remain. It’s always difficult to found a completely new party of course and easier to build on the foundations and of one that already exists and not start without anything.”

There has been some speculation that this could be a similar move to what happened on the political Right with the forming of the TOP 09 party as a viable alternative on the centre-right, which also paved the way for the current coalition government. Could Mr Paroubek’s party theoretically be a partner in the future for the Social Democrats, since the Communist Party remains unacceptable?

“It’s an important question but it isn’t easy to give an answer on whether it will be successful. If you look at TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats they are largely competing for the same voters. Yes, a new party on the left could provide the Social Democrats with a new potential partner since they don’t have one now and the Communists have no coalition potential. The question is whether at the same time Mr Paroubek won’t weaken the Social Democrats, since they will likely be drawing from the same pool...”

So, you seem to be suggesting that’s something of a gamble whether Mr Paroubek’s party gets wind in its sails or backfires. A lot will depend on timing and many different factors and circumstances...

“Yes. Certainly much will also depend on how the other parties do in the future: a crisis-hit Social Democratic Party there is a small chance for new parties to form.”

11-10-2011

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