Social Democrats discuss need for modernisation at national party convention
The country's second biggest party, the Social Democratic Party, has started its annual three day national convention. For the first time in nine years, it meets as an opposition party following the right-of-centre Civic Democrats' general election victory last year. Besides the election of a new leadership, the Social Democrats have many other topics on the agenda, including the party's modernisation plans and next year's presidential election. Delegates may also discuss a lawsuit the party is facing for failing to pay close to 20 billion crowns in unpaid fees. I spoke to political commentator Vladimira Dvorakova about the party's future:
A serious problem that the party is facing is the fact that it is being sued for almost 20 billion crowns in unpaid fees and - in the worst case scenario - could even face bankruptcy. Could these plans of changing the face of the party be part of a bigger plan to form an entirely new party altogether?
"I don't think that there's a possibility of forming a new party but the question of bankruptcy is a problem that is a very bad situation for the Social Democrats because the financial situation can be very bad and it's very difficult to launch any campaigns or activities without having any money."
"It's a little bit funny because the Social Democrats very often pass these resolutions and prohibit something and then nothing can happen because it's really up to the MPs and Senators how they will vote because it's a secret vote. But if the Social Democrats should decide to put forward their own candidate who is very Social Democratic I don't think that they stand a chance at getting support.
Would do you think about claims that Mr Paroubek's ways are too dictatorial?
"It depends on what the situation is like inside the party, whether there are possibilities for discussion or not, which I'm not so sure of. But it's true that it has not been easy for Mr Paroubek because there were many factions, there was a lot of animosity inside the party so it was necessary to be a strong leader to control the party."