Pozadí astronaut Brázda
Pozadí astronaut Brázda


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Respekt in English

ČSSD ruled by opinion polls

Even a competent prime minister can get burned by being in the opposition, and Respekt's Erik Tabery says Jiří Paroubek is slowly but surely losing his handle on the situation. In this commentary Tabery looks at the tension building with a Social Democratic Party he says has locked itself into looking backward.

Being in the opposition is in many ways harder than heading the government. You need to fight harder for the attention of the media and of the voters. You must be able to describe exactly how the cabinet is doing things wrong and how you would do it better. What's more, the opposition lacks the resources of the ministries that are available to the ruling party. Finally, there's the danger that you will grow complacent in your opposition role. Even a competent prime minister can get burned by being in the opposition. Jiří Paroubek is slowly but surely losing his handle on the situation. The time has come to take a look at the tension building within the Social Democratic Party.

Private eye

In the Czech Republic there is now an unpleasant tradition that the opposition party doesn't try particularly hard to find arguments against the ruling party's proposals. Instead it tries to dig up dirt on the cabinet. While that is part of the opposition's role as watchdog, the problem is that the party eventually transforms itself into a sort of private eye. Last year the opposition took this role to extreme levels.

To find the underlying reason, we need to go back two years, to a time when the Social Democrats were keeping a low profile because over the course of two years the party had lost two chairmen, who also happened to be prime ministers: Vladimír Špidla and Stanislav Gross.

This paved the way for Jiří Paroubek, who, unworried and…

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