Social Democrats try to get back on track
The Social Democratic Party has tried to get back on track, a week after the party’s poorer-than-expected result in the election opened a major rift. On Thursday, a number of senior party members, who had led a call for leader Bohuslav Sobotka to resign, apologised for denying – or in one case lying – about a secret meeting with the country’s president, and one stepped down. The question is now what’s next for the troubled party.
He made clear he was stepping down in the hopes of improving his party’s chances in upcoming negotiations on forming a government (although he stays on as a regional chairman). Oneresignation, at this point, may not be enough. Party leader Bohuslav Sobotka, said explicitly on the day that all those who had taken part in the secret meeting, should go.
“That would certainly be the simplest way to resolve the current situation, to be able to move ahead. It simply is not possible to leave people who have lied in leading positions.”
Mr Zaorálek also pointed to the fact, there were still many unknowns regarding last weekend’s secret meeting. The five who met with Mr Zeman, labelled ‘putschists’ by the pro-Sobotka camp, have said that party leader was never discussed, although that has convinced few even within their own ranks, including the speaker of the Senate, Milan Štěch. Lubomír Zaorálek suggested it was a shame that the president himself, a party to the meeting, had not made a statement.
“I think it would be important if the president himself said something about the meeting. Keeping it secret at this point no longer makes sense. The fact that five senior leaders of a political party met with him in secret right after the election, that’s not just a problem of the party. As it is, we are hunting in the dark.”