Former prime minister elected head of new leftist party
Former prime minister Jiří Paroubek has been elected chairman of the new leftist party LEV 21– receiving 233 votes out of 235 delegates present at the party’s convention in Prague on Saturday (two abstained). Jaroslav Král, head of the party’s preparatory committee, called the new leader “every inch a socialist”. The party’s name is an acronym for “Left” but also means “lion” in Czech. Committee members told delegates that LEV 21 will cooperate closely with the extra-parliamentary Czech Social and National Party (CSNS 2005). They said the two parties will act jointly from now on.
Up until last year Jiří Paroubek was the head of the opposition Social Democrats but stepped down as party leader after a poorer-than-expected result in the 2010 general election. He later left the party over disagreement with its current direction.