1968, Electing Alexander Dubcek as First Secretary
Source: Sb. KV, DIV—AÚV KSČ, F. 01.
In this resolution, the Central Committee replaces Antonín Novotný with Alexander Dubcek as the new
first secretary of the party. The document also records the decision to separate this post from the state
presidency—under Novotný both offices had been combined—"as a logical part of the democratization
process in the state and political spheres."
The large majority of Czechs and Slovaks, unaware of the acute power struggle in the CPCz's leadership,
learned about the changes from terse announcements and press reports in the newspapers the next day.
… The new stage of development places greater demands on the work of the party and on the assertion of its leading role. In this light the plenary session of the CPCz Central Committee discussed relations among party, state, and social organs and the working methods of the central party organs. The Central Committee carried out its work in a democratic and critical manner, with full responsibility for the concrete implementation within its own ranks of the conclusions drawn by its October session. The Central Committee again assessed the present situation within the party and highlighted existing shortcomings in the methods and style of work, in internal party management, and in the practical application of the principles of democratic centralism and intra-party democracy….
The Central Committee will create better conditions for thorough and open discussion at its plenary session on all items on the agenda so that each of its members has every opportunity to state and defend their position. Different positions on how to seek a correct solution are natural and objectively necessary. Members and candidate members of the Central Committee must take part in the preparation of resolutions and their implementation through the intermediary channels of commissions and in other ways in order to judge the correctness of decisions and measure them against reality. Members and candidate members of the CPCz CC and its organs must serve as an example to the lower echelons of party leadership, showing them how to promote intra-party democracy, how to ensure democratic centralism, collective leadership, criticism, self-criticism, and cadre work, and above all how to fulfill their tasks….
Along with this, the members should specify analyses and proposals regarding the party statutes and the role of the CC Presidium, which has to discuss fundamental issues pertaining to the elaboration, implementation, and preparation of Central Committee decisions. In its work the Presidium must concentrate more on dealing with conceptual and programmatic aspects of party policy. The Presidium is to inform the Central Committee regularly about all its activities and testify before the Central Committee plenum about the status of these activities. In the event of a dispute in dealing with certain matters, the Presidium is required to provide information about the views and positions of its members. It must ensure that the work of all officials is regularly and collectively assessed in their presence, especially on the basis of party discipline and performance while at work. Their activity must be assessed favorably and any mistakes that may occur must be criticized openly and in a timely manner. That is the only way to create comradely relations corresponding to communist ethics.
To that end, there must be far greater encouragement of an open exchange of views, and all officials must create the conditions for such an exchange. The qualities of a communist include