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Czechoslovakia: Lower-Level Organization
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia > Lower-Level Organization

LOWER-LEVEL ORGANIZATION


At the republic level the party structure deviates from the government organization in that a separate communist party unit exists in the Slovak Socialist Republic but not in the Czech Socialist Republic. The KSS emerged from World War II as a party distinct from the KSC, but the two were united after the communist takeover in 1948. The reform movement of the 1960s advocated a return to a system of autonomous parties for the two republics. The Bureau for the Conduct of Party Work in the Czech Lands was created as a counterpart to the KSS, but it was suppressed after the 1968 invasion and by 1971 had been stricken from party records. The KSS remained, however, undoubtedly as a concession to Slovak nationalism. Nevertheless, the KSS functions solely as a regional affiliate of the KSC. The KSS does not operate as an independent political institution but rather as directed by the Prague party leadership.

The organizational structure and modus operandi of the KSS parallel those of the KSC. The KSS party congress meets for several days every five years (just before the KSC party congress). The KSS party congress selects its central committee members and candidate members, who in turn select a presidium, a secretariat, and a first secretary. Jozef Lenart, selected as KSS first secretary in 1970, still held that position seventeen years later. Following the March 1986 party congress, the KSS Presidium consisted of eleven members; the Secretariat included, in addition to Lenart, three secretaries and two members; and the Central Committee comprised ninety-five full members and thirtysix candidate members. The KSS in 1986 also had its own Central Control and Auditing Commission, four other commissions, twelve party departments, and one training facility.

The next step down the party hierarchy is the regional level. The KSC has ten regional subdivisions (seven in the Czech lands, three in Slovakia) identical to the kraje, the ten major governmental administrative divisions. In addition, however, the Prague and Bratislava municipal party organs, because of their size, are given regional status within the KSC. Regional conferences select regional committees, which in turn select a leading secretary, a number of secretaries, and a regional control and auditing commission.

Regional units are broken down into a total of 114 district-level organizations. District conferences are held simultaneously every two to three years, at which time each conference selects a district committee that subsequently selects a secretariat to be headed by a district secretary. In the spirit of democratic centralism, authority and responibility are delegated from the higher KSC bodies through these successive tiers of the party structure. The regional committees develop the basic programs for the regions and guide the district committees, while the district organizations oversee and direct the local party units.

At the local level the KSC is structured according to what it calls the "territorial and production principle"; the basic party units are organized in work sites and residences where there are at least five KSC members. In enterprises or communities where party membership is more numerous, the smaller units function under larger city, village, or factorywide committees. The highest authority of the local organization is, theoretically, the monthly membership meeting, attendance at which is a basic duty of every member. Each group selects its own leadership, consisting of a chairman and one or more secretaries. It also names delegates to the conference of the next higher unit, be it at the municipal (in the case of larger cities) or district level. Local units are described in party statutes as the basis of all party organization and are given specific responsibilities that include participating in the management of economic enterprises; training and indoctrinating members; developing and disseminating propaganda aimed at nonmembers; participating actively in social, economic, and cultural activities; and employing constructive criticism to improve socialist development and community life.

Data as of August 1987




Last Updated: August 1987


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Czechoslovakia was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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