published: 26.08.2013, 15:24 | updated: 26.08.2013 16:42:46
Prague - Some party members do not insist on election success, only preferring their personal benefit, Czech Social Democrat (CSSD) leader Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists today.
Sobotka alluded to the Saturday vote of the party's central committee in which over 50 of its members were against him.
The secret vote was proposed by party deputy chairman Zdenek Skromach.
In the vote on who should be the party's leader in the presumed early election and its candidate for the post of prime minister, Sobotka received 86 out of the 151 cast votes, while 51 were against him.
Before, the party board had voiced the unanimous support to Sobotka who is opposed to the ambitions of President Milos Zeman.
However, Zeman is backed by a growing faction inside the party, headed by party deputy chairman Michal Hasek.
"I did not consider resigning a single minute," Sobotka said.
"There was no reason for this and the people who know me also know that I have solid nerves and a tough head," he added.
"I have no reason to backpedal or yield," Sobotka said in reaction to the media speculations that he was thinking of resigning after the vote was taken.
Hasek, who was allegedly behind the attempt, has dismissed this.
"I was only surprised at some people in the party not insisting on its election success, only preferring their personal benefit," Sobotka said.
"As a matter of fact, they thus help Miroslav Kalousek, deputy chairman of TOP 09, and the rightist Civic Democratic Party (ODS)," he added.
"Any internal weakening of the CSSD plays into the hands of the right," Sobotka said without elaborating on whom he had in mind.
Skromach said he was convinced the criticism did not target him.
"As far as I am concerned, I believe that historically I have always preferred the interest of the party to individuals' interests," Skromach said, adding that it was useless for Sobotka speaking in this way.
There were the speculations that the secret vote was actually an attempt at toppling Sobotka before the early election.
Skromach has dismissed this, arguing that he only could hear such statements by CSSD senator Jiri Dienstbier, who himself seems to be a "coup-maker."
"Unfortunately, his statements are evidence that he himself has been disintegrating the party from inside," Skromach said party the son of late dissident Dienstbier.
Dienstbier wrote on facebook on Saturday: "The coup failed. The distinctive character was preserved."
Dienstbier told CTK today the outcome of the vote was quite good, although it seemed to him rather unfair not to stand up against Sobotka openly.
He called this a dirty trick.
The proposal to voice support to Sobotka was submitted by party deputy chairman Lubomir Zaoralek.
"Our party rules put it clearly that the votes on personnel proposals are secret. There is no reason to haggle about it," Skromach said, explaining why he wanted the vote to be secret.
Skromach said in the opposite case the vote could be disputed in the future.
Hasek dismissed the idea that the secret vote was an effort at a coup against Sobotka.
"I absolutely reject the interpretation. I have been loyal to the CSSD and I have worked for it for 15 years. I am interested in its being a successful party, transparent for the voters, both in terms of its programme and offer of personalities," Hasek said.
The early election is expected to be held in late October. The Social Democrats are widely believed to be its favourites.
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