Final Word from Friday, August 23, 2002

ODS had been counting on the Senate and municipal elections in Oct./Nov. to help it regain its position as a relevant force in Czech politics. The floods have complicated this. The negative attention given to Prague Mayor Igor Němec's performance during the disaster has reflected badly on the party as a whole. Ex-ODS Vice Chair Miroslav Macek said the flood ruined Němec's chances for reelection. Němec himself says he's been the victim of a political attack. He hasn't named his alleged attackers, but ex-Mayor Jan Kasl hasn't been silent on Němec's handling of the situation. Yesterday, for example, he said in Právo that "objectively speaking, it doesn't seem that (Němec) did the maximum" to avoid flood damage. Kasl certainly knows how to massage the press. ODS's fate depends to a degree on whether Němec can acquire the same skill.


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