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We Can Offer a Functioning State that Works for the Citizens

An Interview With JUDr. Michal Hašek, The Governor of the South Bohemia Regions and the Vice Chairman of the Czech Social Democratic Party.

We Can Offer a Functioning State that Works for the Citizens

Do you perceive early elections as the only democratic solution of the political stalemate in our country?

It’s not the only democratic solution, but it’s one of the democtatic solutions and, in my opinion, the only truly impartial one. The government coalition didn’t have a majority and staggered from one governmental crisis to another. The coalition parties expended all their energy on fighting amongst themselves. They only had one prescription for the citizens: increasing taxes on the poorest. Early elections will enable a catharsis of this whole process. The citizens will deal the cards again and it will be clear.
 What are the priorities with which the Czech Social Democtratic Party would enter the possible early elections? 

From a historic perspective, we now have the highest unemployment since 1933. Precisely that lack of work is the first thing the new government must deal with. We want to boost economic growth by supporting private and public investments in transportation infrastructure, house insulation, social housing and the development of social and healthcare services, as well as anti-flood measures. The investments from the private and state sector are the basis for renewing economic prosperity. For a start, it will be necessary to ensure the functioning of the state as such. TOP 09 and the right-wing government managed to tear apart labor offices as well as the system for issuing social support and other key systems of our state. It will therefore be necessary to secure the elemental functions of the state.

What is the direction of and what do you personally see as essential for CSDP?

I consider it essential that we get rid of benefit-based socialism and, at the same time, see the economic laws we don’t want to refute, but actually use for a proper administration of the country. CSDP is and must remain a key political party that defends the interests of the majority of citizens and properly handles the administration of the country.

Should there be a coalition and with which parties (even currently non-parliamentary) would you certainly refuse a coalition and which parties hold coalition potential for CSDP?

In no case would we enter a coalition with the Communist Party. This party refused to reflect on its past and take responsibility for it. On the other hand, I see a coalition potential with all smaller center and center-left parties, such as the Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party or Party of Civic Rights – Zeman's People. We shouldn’t forget that the Social Democrats won in the last parliamentary elections, but had had zero coalition potential and ended up in opposition.

The change of the electoral system – In your opinion, should there be a direct parliamentary democracy within the existing electoral system? I mean by that, the introduction of a direct vote for mayors as well as parliamentary deputies.

In the past, the Social Democratic Party consistently supported a ratio-based electoral system that ensures a larger consensus within society. I’m not sure that our democracy is ready for a system where the winner takes all. As for the direct vote for mayors, that’s something to consider, but not too quickly. Over the last twenty years, our constitutional system mostly suffered from complicated compilations of majorities in the parliament, frequent elections that prevented those governments from making unpopular decisions, etc. Something needs to be done with the political system, but rather in the direction of strengthening executive power. The citizens are dissatistified with the fact that one government after another faisl to fulfill their election campaign promises. We need to stengthen the ability of governments to act.

What can the current left-wing parties offer, or should offer, differently from the recent right-wing governments?

A functioning state that works for the citizens and is not just a depository of stories for tele-novellas on the evening news programs. We need a functioning government that will serve the needs of the citizens of the Czech Republic. And that’s exactly what we offer.  

What do you do in your free time? How do you relax?

I like reading historic literature and to go to the theatre and cinema.

Source: Leaders Magazine - (Pavlína Holancová)

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