Political commentator Jiří Pehe: Duchcov coalition could seriously damage the Social Democrats
The situation in Duchcov, north Bohemia, where the Social Democrats have entered into a coalition with the ultra-right Workers Social Justice Party and the Communists and its possible implications for the Social Democratic Party have become a hotly debated topic both in political circles and the media. Party leader Bohuslav Sobotka has expressed grave concern regarding the latest developments which he described as “wholly unacceptable” and has made it clear he would fight to have the local branch of the Social Democratic Party scrapped. I asked political commentator Jiří Pehe how important it is for the Social Democrat leader to win this particular battle.
How do you interpret the regional leadership’s decision to come out in support of this coalition and defy the prime minister?
“Well, I am afraid that the Social Democratic Party has many different layers and especially in some regions, such as the northern Bohemian region and some other socially problematic areas, the local and regional Social Democrats quite often sympathize with the views of some of the extreme right politicians with regard to minorities and especially the Roma minority in those areas and they pander to the lowest possible denominator to attract voters. And I think this is part of this strategy where the local Social Democrat leaders do not want to be seen as not really understanding the problems of the lower class local population which quite often is in conflict with the local Roma population.”
Is Mr. Sobotka strong enough to win this battle? Does he have enough support on the national level?