Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia

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Communist Party of
Bohemia and Moravia

Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy
LeaderVojtěch Filip
Deputy LeadersPetr Šimůnek
Stanislav Grospič
Kateřina Konečná
Václav Ort
Chamber of Deputies LeaderPavel Kováčik
MEP LeaderKateřina Konečná
Founded31 March 1990
Preceded byCommunist Party of Czechoslovakia
HeadquartersPolitických vězňů 9, Prague
NewspaperHaló noviny
Think tankInstitute of the Czech Left
Youth wingYoung Communists
Membership (2018)34,500[1]
IdeologyCommunism[2][3]
Marxism[4]
Euroscepticism[5][6][7]
Political positionLeft-wing[8][9] to far-left[10][11]
European affiliationParty of the European Left (observer)[12]
International affiliationInternational Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
European Parliament groupEuropean United Left–Nordic Green Left[13]
Colours     Red
Chamber of Deputies
15 / 200
Senate
0 / 81
European Parliament
1 / 21
Regional councils[14]
86 / 675
Governors of the regions
1 / 13
Local councils
1,426 / 62,300
Party flag
Flag of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia
Website
http://www.kscm.cz/
Coat of arms of the Czech Republic.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Czech Republic
Czech Republic bar 1.svg

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Czech: Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy, KSČM) is a communist party[2][3] in the Czech Republic. It has a membership of 42,994 (2016) and is a member party of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left bloc in the European Parliament.[13]

Along with the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova it is one of only two former 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 adhere to laws adopted after 1989.[15][16] For most of the first two decades after the Velvet Revolution, the party was politically isolated and accused of extremism, but it has moved closer to the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD). After the 2012 regional elections, it began governing in coalition with the ČSSD in 10 regions.[17] It has never been part of a governing coalition in the executive branch, but provides parliamentary support to Andrej Babiš' Second Cabinet.

The party's youth organisation was banned from 2006 to 2010,[16][18] and there have been calls from other parties to outlaw the main party.[19] Until 2013 it was the only political party in the Czech Republic printing its own newspaper, called Haló noviny.[20]

The party's two cherry logo comes from the song Le Temps des cerises, a revolutionary song associated with the Paris Commune.[21]

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.[22]

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

During the party's first congress, held in Olomouc in October 1990, party 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."[23] 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.[15] Delegates approved the new program but rejected the name change.[15]

During 1991 and 1992 factional tensions increased, with the party's conservative anti-revisionist wing increasingly vocal in criticizing Svoboda.[15] There was an increase in popularity of the anti-revisionist Marxist–Leninist Clubs amongst rank and file party members.[15] 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.[15] In December 1991 the Democratic Left split off and formed the short-lived Party of Democratic Labour.[15] The referendum on changing the name was held in 1992, with 75.94% voting not to change the name.[15]

The party's second congress, held in Kladno in December 1992, showed the increasing popularity of the party's anti-revisionist wing.[15] It passed resolutions reinterpreting the 1990 program as a "starting point" for the KSČM, rather than a definitive statement of a post-communist program.[15] Svoboda, who was hospitalized due to an attack by an anti-communist, could not attend the congress but was nevertheless overwhelmingly re-elected.[15] After the party's second congress in 1992, several groups split away. A group of post-communist delegates split off and merged with the Party of Democratic Labour to form the Party of the Democratic Left (SDL).[22] Several independent left-wing 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).[22] Both groups eventually merged into the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS),[24] which does some joint work, and co-operates with the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia.

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.[25] 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.[22]

At the 1993 congress, held in Prostějov, Svoboda's proposals were overwhelmingly rejected by two-thirds majorities.[22] Svoboda did not seek re-election as chairman, and neocommunist Miroslav Grebeníček was elected chairman.[22] 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.[22] 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 that they gave too much influence to minority groups.[22] Svoboda left the party and eventually joined the ČSSD in 1997.

The expelled members of 'For Socialism' formed the 'Party of Czechoslovak Communists' (later renamed the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia), led by Miroslav Štěpán.[24] 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 prevented 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.[26]

After a long-running battle with the Ministry of the Interior, the Communist Youth Union (KSM), the KSCM youth section led by Milan Krajča, was dissolved in 2006, allegedly for endorsing in its program the replacement of private with collective ownership of the means of production.[18] The decision met with international protests.[27]

In November 2008, the Senate of the Czech Republic asked the Supreme Administrative 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 view that the program of KSČM did not reject violence as a means of attaining power and adopted The Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx.[28] However, this was only a symbolic gesture, as according to the Constitution only the Cabinet may file a petition with the Supreme Administrative Court to dissolve a political party.

For the first two decades after the end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia, the Communist Party was politically isolated. However, after the 2012 regional elections, the party started to participate in coalitions with the Social Democrats, forming part of the ruling coalition in 10 out of 13 regions.[17] Since 2018, the Communists have been providing parliamentary support to Andrej Babiš' Second Cabinet.[29][30]

Popular support and electoral results[edit]

The KSČM's strongest bases of support are in the regions hit by deindustrialization, particularly in the Karlovy Vary and Ústí nad Labem Regions. In 2012 the party won a regional election for the first time, in Ústí nad Labem. Its regional leader Oldřich Bubeníček subsequently became the first communist regional governor in the history of Czech Republic.[31] The party is stronger among older voters than younger voters, with the majority of the membership being over 60.[32] The party is also stronger in small and medium-sized towns than in big cities,[33] with Prague consistently being the party's weakest region.

Parliament of the Czech Republic[edit]

A protest against the election of communist Zdeněk Ondráček
Worker's Day Meeting in Brno, organized by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia

Chamber of Deputies (Lower House)[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year Leader # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
± Place Position
1990 Jiří Machalík 954,690 13.2
33 / 200
2nd in opposition
1992 Jiří Svoboda 909,490 14.0[a]
35 / 200
Increase2 2nd in opposition
1996 Miroslav Grebeníček 626,136 10.3
22 / 200
Decrease13 3rd in opposition
1998 Miroslav Grebeníček 658,550 11.0
24 / 200
Increase2 3rd in opposition
2002 Miroslav Grebeníček 882,653 18.5
41 / 200
Increase17 3rd in opposition
2006 Vojtěch Filip 685,328 12.8
26 / 200
Decrease15 3rd in opposition
2010 Vojtěch Filip 589,765 11.3
26 / 200
Steady0 4th in opposition
2013 Vojtěch Filip 741,044 14.9
33 / 200
Increase7 3rd in opposition
2017 Vojtěch Filip 393,100 7.8
15 / 200
Decrease18 5th gov′t support

Notes:

  1. ^ In 1992 KSČM participated in the Left Bloc, an electoral alliance with smaller leftwing groups and independents.[15]

Senate (Upper House)[edit]

Senate
Election year First Round Second Round # of seats won # 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
2 / 81
1998 159,123 16.5 31,097 5.8
2 / 27
4 / 81
Increase2
2000 152,934 17.8 73,372 13.0
0 / 27
3 / 81
Decrease1
2002 110,171 16.5 57,434 7.0
1 / 27
3 / 81
Steady0
2004 125,892 17.4 65,136 13.6
1 / 27
2 / 81
Decrease1
2006 134,863 12.7 26,001 4.5
0 / 27
2 / 81
Steady0
2008 147,186 14.1
1 / 27
3 / 81
Increase1
2010 117,374 10.2
0 / 27
2 / 81
Decrease1
2012 153,335 17.4 79,663 15.5
1 / 27
2 / 81
Steady0
2014 99,973 9.74
0 / 27
1 / 81
Decrease1
2016 83,741 9.50 5,737 1.35
0 / 27
1 / 81
Steady0
2018 80,371 7.38 3,578 0.86
0 / 27
0 / 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
2019 164,624 6.9
1 / 21
Decrease2

Local election[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats
1994 17,413,545 13.6
5,837 / 62,160
1998 10,703,975 13.7
5,748 / 62,920
2002 11 696 976 14.5
5,702 / 62,494
2006 11,730,243 10.8
4,268 / 62,426
2010 8,628,685 9.6
3,189 / 62,178
2014 7,730,503 7.8
2,510 / 62,300
2018 5,416,907 4.8
1,426 / 62,300

Regional election[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats +/- Place
2000 496,688 21.1
161 / 675
3rd
2004 416,807 Decrease 19.7 Decrease
157 / 675
Decrease 2nd
2008 438,024 Increase 15.0 Decrease
114 / 675
Decrease 3rd
2012 538,953 Increase 20.4 Increase
182 / 675
Increase 2nd
2016 267,047 Decrease 10.6 Decrease
86 / 675
Decrease 3rd

Prague municipal elections[edit]

Year Leader Vote Vote % Seats +/− Place Position
1990 1,234,294 14.2
11 / 76
2nd Opposition
1994 Petr Zajíček 3,022,628 10.7
6 / 55
Decrease5 2nd Opposition
1998 Libuše Eliášová 207,977 10.0
8 / 55
Increase2 4th Opposition
2002 Viktor Pázler 485,322 10.8
8 / 70
Increase2 4th Opposition
2006 František Hoffman 2,096,785 7.9
6 / 70
Decrease2 3rd Opposition
2010 Dagmar Gušlbauerová 235,004 6.8
3 / 65
Decrease3 4th Opposition
2014 Marta Semelová 1,225,102 5.9
4 / 65
Increase1 6th Opposition
2018 Marta Semelová 827,036 3.26
0 / 65
Decrease4 7th Opposition

Brno municipal elections[edit]

Year Leader Vote Vote % Seats +/− Place Position
1990 Daniel Rychnovský 246,690 11.07
6 / 60
4th Opposition
1994 1,012,101 11.92
7 / 55
Increase1 3rd Opposition
1998 676,349 11.11
6 / 55
Decrease1 4th Opposition
2002 Helena Sýkorová 693,657 13.13
9 / 55
Increase3 4th Opposition
2006 Pavel Březa 565,541 8.67
5 / 55
Decrease4 6th Opposition
2010 Helena Sýkorová 487,629 7.40
4 / 55
Decrease1 5th Opposition
2014 Helena Sýkorová 396,657 6.73
4 / 55
Steady0 7th Opposition
2018 Martin Říha 264,705 4.13
0 / 55
Decrease4 9th Opposition

Ostrava municipal elections[edit]

Year Leader Vote Vote % Seats +/− Place Position
1990 24.40
15 / 63
2nd Opposition
1994 1,333,766 21.66
12 / 55
Decrease3 2nd Opposition
1998 646,072 16.81
9 / 55
Decrease3 3rd Opposition
2002 Jaromír Horák 710,504 20.59
12 / 55
Increase3 3rd Opposition
2006 Josef Babka 661,084 16.59
10 / 55
Decrease2 3rd Opposition
2010 Martin Juroška 553,571 12.74
8 / 55
Decrease2 4th Opposition
2014 Martin Juroška 465,762 13.43
10 / 55
Increase2 4th Opposition
2018 Martin Juroška 348,514 8.96
6 / 55
Decrease4 4th Opposition

Plzeň municipal elections[edit]

Year Leader Vote Vote % Seats +/− Place Position
1990 16.40
9 / 51
2nd Opposition
1994 434,202 13.39
7 / 47
Decrease2 3rd Opposition
1998 270,196 12.47
6 / 47
Decrease1 3rd Opposition
2002 Jana Bystřická 260,123 13.26
7 / 47
Increase1 3rd Opposition
2006 František Hrubeš 277,883 12.48
6 / 47
Decrease1 3rd Opposition
2010 Jiří Valenta 221,476 9.70
5 / 47
Decrease1 4th Opposition
2014 Václav Štěkl 152,903 8.30
5 / 47
Steady0 5th Opposition
2018 Václav Štěkl 124,055 5.64
3 / 47
Decrease2 7th Opposition

Leaders[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lidovcům, ČSSD i KSČM mizí členové po tisících". Novinky.cz. 11 April 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2017). "Czechia". Parties and Elections in Europe.
  3. ^ a b Bozóki, A & Ishiyama, J (2002) The Communist Successor Parties of Central and Eastern Europe, pp150-153
  4. ^ "Naděje pro Českou republiku (2006)" (PDF). kscm.cz (in Czech). 29 March 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  5. ^ "How Europe will break on Brexit". Politico.eu. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  6. ^ "O Brexitu neboli proč by EU měla jít". kscm.cz. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Krachující Evropská unie a Česká republika". kscm.cz. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  8. ^ Seelinger, Lani (11 July 2014). "Why the Czech Communists are here to stay". visegradrevue.eu. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  9. ^ Pink, Michal. "The Electoral Base of Left-Wing Post-Communist Political Parties in the Former Czechoslovakia". Central European Political Studies Review. Retrieved 12 August 2019..
  10. ^ Kapsas, André (6 April 2018). "Andrej Babiš et les sociaux-démocrates tchèques négocient leur alliance". Courrier d'Europe centrale (in French). Retrieved 12 August 2019..
  11. ^ Lopatka, Jan (30 April 2018). "New dawn or swan song? Czech communists eye slice of power after decades". Reuters. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia". european-left.org. Archived from the original on 20 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  13. ^ a b "European United Left & Nordic Green Left European Parliamentary Group delegations". www-guengl.eu. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  14. ^ Počty přidělených mandátů | volby.cz (in Czech)
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Bozóki & Ishiyama, p146
  16. ^ a b "Elections: What's on the menu (in English)". Prague Daily Monitor. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  17. ^ a b "ČSSD to rule along with Communists in 10 of 13 Czech regions | Prague Monitor". Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Communists denounce ban on far-left youth movement". Radio Praha. 19 October 2006. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Czech Activists Seek to Outlaw Communist Party". The New York Times. 23 December 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  20. ^ "Halonoviny.cz - české levicové zprávy". Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Kdo jsme". Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h Bozóki & Ishiyama, p147
  23. ^ Bozóki & Ishiyama, pp145-146
  24. ^ a b Bozóki & Ishiyama, p157
  25. ^ Bozóki & Ishiyama, pp146-147
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "Czech Communist Youth Union outlawed". The Guardian. Communist Party of Australia. 25 October 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "ČSSD v referendu schválila vládu s ANO. Babiš však ještě nemá vyhráno". iDNES.cz. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Babiš je podruhé premiérem. Hájil, že vláda bude opřená o komunisty". iDNES.cz. 6 June 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  31. ^ "Oldřich Bubeníček". Novinky.cz. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  32. ^ Bozóki & Ishiyama, p155
  33. ^ Bozóki & Ishiyama, p156

External links[edit]