Prague - The Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) leadership wants to hold a referendum, in which a reform of the party including the introduction of primary elections would be decided on by its members, before the summer holidays, CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka said after a party conference today.
Zleva šéfporadce premiéra a bývalý předseda ČSSD Vladimír Špidla, místopředseda Sněmovny Jan Hamáček, místopředsedkyně Senátu Alena Gajdůšková, předseda ČSSD a premiér Bohuslav Sobotka a místopředsedové strany Lubomír Zaorálek a Martin Starec vystoupili 15. března v Praze na tiskové konferenci po jednání o vnitrostranické reformě. ČTK Šulová Kateřina
Sobotka said the members would decide whether list of candidates would be agreed on in an open primary election by about 2000 party members instead of by five members of the party regional branch leadership, which is the system used now.
Even if the referendum supported primary elections or any other issues, their introduction would have to wait until next year when a CSSD conference would change the party´s rules.
Primary elections would limit the influence of local party bosses.
Sobotka said today´s conference on the reform of the CSSD aims at winning more members and supporters.
The party should offer available quality education and lower unemployment to the young people and a mixture of guaranteed social security and stimulation of economic growth to the middle class.
He said the CSSD also needs to reinforce its expert background in order to be attractive for specialists from many fields to whom it may offer a professional chance to influence administration of the state, regions and municipalities.
Lower house chairman Jan Hamacek (CSSD) said the party will have to more explain why it arrived at the decision it makes.
Sobotka said the conference on the party´s reform was the first step to broadly reflect the result of the last year´s general election.
The Social Democrats won the election, yet it gained only one fifth of the vote, which has been the worst result in its modern history. The CSSD was closely followed by the ANO movement of billionaire Andrej Babis in the election. Some opinion polls show that ANO has become more popular than the CSSD.