Final Word from Wednesday, July 31, 2002





There are whispers around Prague that the new cabinet might be a one-man show. Premier Vladimír Špidla has already changed the rules so that he alone decides what appears on the cabinet agenda, and there are signs that he might also want to make major decisions by himself. Deputy Premier Cyril Svoboda said on Czech Radio that Špidla and his deputies will meet before each cabinet session to address individual issues and to find a compromise. Špidla, he said, doesn't want controversial issues to make their way to the cabinet meeting. If there's a disagreement, Svoboda said, the issue can be delayed for a week. Špidla is getting the reputation of Mr. Clean, and his take-control style could be bad news for lobbyists if the influence of individual ministers is dampened. Ministers who try to cross Špidla might find that their days are numbered.

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