Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia

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Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia
Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy
Leader Vojtěch Filip
Founded 1989
Preceded by Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
Headquarters Politických vězňů 9, Prague
Membership  (2013) 51,000[1]
Ideology Eurocommunism[2][3][4][5]
Euroscepticism[6]
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
European affiliation Party of the European Left (Observer)
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Colours Red
Chamber of Deputies
33 / 200
Senate
1 / 81
European Parliament
3 / 21
Regional councils [7]
182 / 675
Local councils
2,564 / 62,300
Website
http://www.kscm.cz/
Politics of the Czech Republic
Political parties
Elections
Coat of arms of the Czech Republic.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Czech Republic
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The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Czech: Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy, KSČM) is a political party in the Czech Republic. It has a membership of 56,763 (2012) and is a member party of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left bloc in the European Parliament. Along with the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova it is one of only two ruling parties in post-communist Central Eastern Europe which has not dropped the communist title from its name, although it changed its party program to suit laws adopted after 1989.[8][9] For most of the first two decades after the Velvet Revolution, the party was politically isolated and accused of extremism, but recently it has become closer to the ČSSD. After the 2012 regional elections it began governing in coalition with the ČSSD in 10 regions,[10] and plans to form a coalition government with them after the next election.[9][11] Its youth organisation was banned from 2006 to 2010,[9][12] and there have been calls from other parties to outlaw the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia.[13]

History[edit]

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia was formed in 1989 by the Congress of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, which decided to create a party for the territories of Bohemia and Moravia (including Czech Silesia), the areas that were to become the Czech Republic. The new party's organization was significantly more democratic and decentralized than the previous party and gave local district branches of the party significant autonomy.[14]

In 1990, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, a federation of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia and the Communist Party of Slovakia, was formed. Later, the Communist Party of Slovakia changed its name to the Party of the Democratic Left, and the federation broke up in 1992.

During the party's first congress, held in Olomouc in October 1990, the party's then-leader, Jiří Svoboda, attempted to reform the party into a democratic socialist one, proposing a democratic socialist program and changing the name to the transitional "Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia: Party of Democratic Socialism."[15] Svoboda had to balance the criticisms of older conservative communists, who made up a majority of the party's members, with the demands of an increasingly large and moderate bloc of members, led primarily by a group of young KSČM parliamentarians called the Democratic Left, who demanded the immediate social democratization of the party.[8] Delegates approved the new program but rejected the name change.[8]

During 1991 and 1992 factional tensions increased, with the party's conservative anti-revisionist wing increasingly vocal in criticizing Svoboda.[8] There was an increase in popularity of the anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist Clubs amongst rank and file party members.[8] On the party's other wing, the Democratic Left became increasingly critical of the slow pace of the reforms and began demanding a referendum of members to change the name.[8] In December 1991 the Democratic Left split off and formed the short-lived Party of Democratic Labour.[8] The referendum on changing the name was eventually held in 1992, with 75.94% voting to retain the current name.[8]

The party's second congress, held in Kladno in December 1992, showed the increasing popularity of the party's anti-revisionist wing.[8] It passed resolutions reinterpreting the 1990 program as a "starting point" for the KSČM, rather than a definitive statement of a post-communist program.[8] Svoboda, who was hospitalized due to an attack by an anti-communist extremist, couldn't attend the congress but was nevertheless overwhelmingly reelected.[8]

In 1993, Svoboda attempted to expel the members of the 'For Socialism' platform, a group in the party that wanted a restoration of the pre-1989 communist regime.[16] However, with only the lukewarm support of the KSČM's Central Committee, he briefly resigned. He withdrew his resignation after the Central Committee agreed to move the party's next congress forward to June 1993 to resolve the issues of its name and ideology.[14]

At the 1993 congress, held in Prostějov, Svoboda's proposals were overwhelmingly rejected by two-thirds majorities.[14] Svoboda did not seek reelection as chairman, and neocommunist Miroslav Grebeníček was elected chairman.[14] Grebeníček and his supporters were critical of what they termed the "inadequacies" of the pre-1989 regime but supported the retention of the party's communist character and program.[14] The members of the 'For Socialism' platform were expelled at the congress, with the existence of "platforms" in the party being banned altogether, on the grounds they gave too much influence to minority groups.[14]

After the party's second congress in 1992, several groups split away. A group of postcommunist delegates split off and merged with the Party of Democratic Labour to form the Party of the Democratic Left (SDL).[14] Several independent leftwing members who had participated with the KSČM in the 1992 electoral pact called the Left Bloc left the party to form the Left Bloc Party (SLB).[14] Both groups eventually merged into the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS),[17] which does some joint work, and co-operates with the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia. Svoboda also left the party and eventually joined the ČSSD in 1997. Several smaller groups split away.

The expelled members of 'For Socialism' formed the 'Party of Czechoslovak Communists' (later renamed the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia), led by Miroslav Štěpán.[17] The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia refuses to work with this group.

The party was left on the sidelines for most of the first decade of the Czech Republic's existence. Václav Havel suspected the KSČM was still an unreconstructed Stalinist party and kept it from having any influence during his presidency. However, the party provided the one-vote margin that elected Havel's successor Václav Klaus as president.[18]

After a long-running battle with the Ministry of the Interior, in 2006 the KSCM's youth section — the Communist Youth Union (KSM) led by Milan Krajča — was dissolved, allegedly for endorsing in its program the replacement of private with collective ownership of the means of production.[12] The decision met with international protests.[19]

In November 2008, the Senate of the Czech Republic asked the Supreme Court to dissolve the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia because of its political program, which the Senate claimed contradicted the Constitution of the Czech Republic. 30 out of the 38 senators who were present agreed to this request and expressed the viewpoint that the program of KSČM does not disown violence as a means of attaining power and adopts The Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx.[20]

Programme and political positions[edit]

The KSČM still engages in traditional left-wing rhetoric, condemning imperialism and unscrupulous corporate practices. Until 2012, it was largely excluded from governing coalitions.

The party officially takes a firm (but not extreme) left-wing stance, and no longer supports nationalization of industry and mass central planning. In its 2008 "Programme of Renewal", it advocated infrastructure development and guild socialism.[21]

Popular support and electoral results[edit]

The KSČM's strongest bases of support are in the industrial mining heartlands of northern Bohemia, particularly in Karlovy Vary and Ústí nad Labem. The party is stronger with older voters than younger voters, with the majority of the membership being over 60.[22] The party is also stronger in small and medium sized towns than in big cities,[23] with Prague consistently being the party's weakest region.

Parliament of the Czech Republic[edit]

Chamber of Deputies (Lower House)[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
±
1990 954,690 13.2
33 / 200
1992 909,490 14.0[a]
35 / 200
Increase2
1996 626,136 10.3
22 / 200
Decrease13
1998 658,550 11.0
24 / 200
Increase2
2002 882,653 18.5
41 / 200
Increase17
2006 685,328 12.8
26 / 200
Decrease15
2010 589,765 11.3
26 / 200
Steady0
2013 741,044 14.9
33 / 200
Increase7

Notes:

  1. ^ In 1992 KSČM participated in the Left Bloc, an electoral alliance with smaller leftwing groups and independents.[8]

Senate (Upper House)[edit]

Senate
Election year First Round Second Round # of
overall seats won
±
# of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
1996 393,494 14.3 45,304 2.0
2 / 81
1998 159,123 16.5 31,097 5.8
4 / 81
Increase2
2000 152,934 17.8 73,372 13.0
3 / 81
Decrease1
2002 110,171 16.5 57,434 7.0
3 / 81
Steady0
2004 125,892 17.4 65,136 13.6
2 / 81
Decrease1
2006 134,863 12.7 26,001 4.5
2 / 81
Steady0
2008 147,186 14.1
3 / 81
Increase1
2010 117,374 10.2
2 / 81
Decrease1
2012 153,335 17.4 79,663 15.5
2 / 81
Steady0
2014 99,973 9.74
1 / 81
Decrease1

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
±
2004 472,862 20.3
6 / 24
2009 334,577 14.2
4 / 22
Decrease2
2014 166,478 11.0
3 / 21
Decrease1

Leaders[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.vecernikpv.cz/volby/2013/4299-kolik-clenu-maji-politicke-strany
  2. ^ Bozóki, A & Ishiyama, J (2002) The Communist Successor Parties of Central and Eastern Europe, pp150-153
  3. ^ "Parties and Elections in Europe, "Czech Republic", The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck". Parties & Elections. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  4. ^ http://europe.demsoc.org/2014/02/20/communist-party-of-bohemia-and-moravia-kscm/
  5. ^ http://europe.demsoc.org/2014/02/20/communist-party-of-bohemia-and-moravia-kscm/
  6. ^ http://europe.demsoc.org/2014/02/20/communist-party-of-bohemia-and-moravia-kscm/
  7. ^ Počty přidělených mandátů | volby.cz (Czech)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Bozóki & Ishiyama, p146
  9. ^ a b c "Elections: What's on the menu (in English)". Prague Daily Monitor. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  10. ^ ČSSD to rule along with Communists in 10 of 13 Czech regions | Prague Monitor
  11. ^ ČSSD-KSČM minority gov't is viable, Sobotka says | Prague Monitor
  12. ^ a b Communists denounce ban on far-left youth movement | Radio Prague
  13. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/world/europe/23iht-czech.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Bozóki & Ishiyama, p147
  15. ^ Bozóki & Ishiyama, pp145-146
  16. ^ Bozóki & Ishiyama, pp146-147
  17. ^ a b Bozóki & Ishiyama, p157
  18. ^ Thompson, Wayne C. (2008). The World Today Series: Nordic, Central and Southeastern Europe 2008. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia: Stryker-Post Publications. ISBN 978-1-887985-95-6. 
  19. ^ agitprop.eu - agitprop Resources and Information. This website is for sale![dead link]
  20. ^ iDNES.cz, ČTK (Česká tisková kancelář). "Komunisté ve světě nás nedají, říká o hrozbě rozpuštění šéf KSČM". iDnes, the online portal of Mladá fronta DNES. Retrieved 8 November 2008. 
  21. ^ http://www.kscm.cz/our-party/our-programms/39786/
  22. ^ Bozóki & Ishiyama, p155
  23. ^ Bozóki & Ishiyama, p156

External links[edit]