The Czech Social Democratic Party, the largest opposition party in the Czech Republic, will elect its new chairman on the weekend March 18-20. The election is important because, according to opinion polls, the opposition party is enjoying high popular support, so there is a significant possibility that the party's new leader will eventually become a new PM of the Czech Republic in case of snap legislative elections.
Six hundred Social Democratic delegates will choose between acting chairman Bohuslav Sobotka and his rival Michal Hašek.
Rhetorically gifted pragmatic
According to Michal Hašek, the Social Democracy should adopt a more universal orientation: it should give more space to women, independent persons not affiliated with any party, try to attract small entrepreneurs, and should not create further fiscal pressure on the government budget. In this, Hašek bears some similarities with Tony Blair, a former leader of the British Labor Party.
In Social Democratic lists of electoral candidates, 30 percent of positions should be reserved for women, and 10 percent for independents from NGOs, academic world, or trade unions, says Hašek.
Hašek believes that the welfare state needs to be remodeled to fit in the 21th century - to become more effective and less costly.
During the chairmanship of Jiří Paroubek in the Social Democracy (2006-2010), Hašek was considered one of his most loyal allies. In Paroubek's shadow cabinet, Hašek served as the agriculture minister.
In 2008, the young politician was elected a governor of the South Moravian Region.
His political opponents admit Hašek is rhetorically talented and has significant negotiating skills, however he is considered too ambitious.
Roots in local politics
Born in 1974, Hašek started his political career as a deputy mayor and eventually mayor of Drásov, a small town in the Southern Moravian Region. He also founded a local Social Democratic organization in the municipality.
Eventually, he successfully run for the Social Democrats to the regional assembly of the South Moravian Region, where he became a leader of the Social Democratic club.
Later, he became a member of the Chamber of Deputies, after the 2006 general elections he became a chairmen of the Social Democratic club in the lower chamber.