Second biggest party could be facing extinction
The Social Democrats, the second biggest party in the country, may be facing extinction. A lawyer who represented them in court seven years ago says he is owed billions of crowns and is willing to take legal action against the party. But if the Social Democrats had to pay the sum, which amounts to over 880 million US dollars, they would be forced to file for bankruptcy. Dita Asiedu reports:
But Jiri Paroubek has set his own terms. He says the Social Democratic Party would transfer 126 million crowns to Mr Altner immediately if he agreed to an out-of-court settlement. After that, the party would also make the contract public. Mr Altner rejects the offer:
"If I hadn't won the Lidovy Dum case in 2000, the Social Democrats would be in financial turmoil. I will not give my demands up in advance. I insist that a debtor has to pay up. He should pay and not blackmail the creditor by saying he would only pay under certain conditions."
"I cannot understand how Milos Zeman could have signed such a contract. It is a grave error. I expect him to, firstly, apologise to the Social Democrats. Secondly, when he writes his next book he should send the proceeds towards paying the Social Democrats' legal bills."
The Social Democrats have been careful not to comment on the issue but there is speculation that the leadership is worried about the party's future. Unofficially, some say it is secretly preparing for the worst by looking into the possibility of forming a new party. But Mr Paroubek rejects any such speculation. He insists that his party will not be forced to file for bankruptcy. "If that were the case I would not be taking for four days off," he said on Wednesday.