Swoboda on Czech elections: „It is now the ČSSD’s duty to bring change“

This Sunday, the Czech Republic held anticipated legislative elections after the former right-wing coalition collapsed. The Socialists and Democrats Group party in the Czech Republic, the ČSSD, won the largest share of the votes with 20.45%.

Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said: „The ČSSD as the biggest party now has the right and obligation to form a government. After the recent years of failure to engage on a European level, we need a strong Czech government that is committed to making Europe a stronger, more socially just place. Therefore, a united party leadership is essential.

„The fact that a large part of the Czech people dismissed the traditional parties and gave their votes to new, populist parties is worrying. The challenges that the Czech Republic and Europe face are too big and too serious to be answered by populists and the simple rejection of traditional politics. It is however a clear indication that people are tired of the old ways of graft and scandal and want to see a new government that serves the people’s needs, rather than their own.

„Seven months before the European elections we must acknowledge that populist parties – which deny the necessity of constructive reforms and propose no programme or agenda except for slogans and short-term placebo policies – are threatening to paralyse our political system. Progressive parties will have to use the next seven months to demonstrate why we can meet the challenges – at national as well as European level – best through progressive policies.

Libor Rouček, vice-president of the S&D Group, added: „The challenges and responsibilities that the ČSSD – as the largest Party in the Czech Republic – is facing, are enormous. These can be met only by preserving the unity of the party. Discord, as many examples in Europe and around the world show, leads to loss of voter confidence and weakening of the party.“