Brno - Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) first deputy chairman Michal Hasek will not resign over the secret post-election meeting with President Milos Zeman, Hasek told CTK today.
Until today, Hasek denied the existence of the meeting, but its another participant, another CSSD deputy chairman Milan Chovanec, confirmed it earlier today.
Hasek said he had observed the agreement of its participants that the talks would not be public.
Some observers say the meeting was held in order to topple party leader Bohuslav Sobotka, Hasek's rival, who is blamed by some leading Social Democrats for the party's poor showing in the late October general election.
The party won the election with 20.5 percent of the vote, but the result was far behind its expectations of about 30 percent.
Hasek said the meeting had not focused on any "coup in the CSSD."
On Sunday, the party's presidium called on Sobotka to resign, which he has refused to do. Sobotka's proponents say the effort was a coup inside the party.
"There are many non public meetings in top politics. It was certainly no 'preparation of a coup in the CSSD,' but an informal meeting of leftist politicians," Hasek said.
Hasek said now the party needed a consensus for the talks on a government with the CSSD's participation.
"Unfortunately, the atmosphere of witch trials or the 1950s now fomented in the CSSD will not contribute to anything of this kind," Hasek said.
Hasek and other Social Democrat senior officials Zdenek Skromach, Jeronym Tejc and Jiri Zimola confirmed to CTK today that they attended the meeting with Zeman.
Previously they denied it, unlike the fifth participant, Chovanec, who admitted that he took part in it.
Hasek said in a letter explaining his behaviour that his aim "was not to deceive the public."
Senate chairman Milan Stech (CSSD) said the participants in the meeting should resign from the party leadership.
Tejc, re-elected chairman of the Social Democrat deputy group, said he would not step down over the scandal.
He said he had not told any lies about the meeting, only refused to comment on it.
Tejc said the whole affair was an artificial problem.
"In my view, the affair is past us. I think that someone is trying to make an artificial problem from it that will certainly not contribute to the atmosphere when searching for a consensus in the deputy group and party leadership," Tejc said.
Chovanec said the party leadership should be now left either by him or Hasek, depending on who lied on the meeting with Zeman.