Final Word from Tuesday, September 17, 2002





We wrote recently that if US-DEU can be saved, only Ivan Pilip can do it. Pilip is an experienced politician who's made a few critical mistakes in his career. In late 1997, he attacked Václav Klaus without having the strength to finish the job. Earlier this year, after failing to make it into Parliament or the cabinet, he had a public temper tantrum. Over the weekend, he maliciously attacked Hana Marvanová for voting against the cabinet's tax package. But yesterday, after cooling off, he made the clever move of giving ČSSD an ultimatum. Either ČSSD cancels the coalition agreement, or US won't leave the cabinet. This could not only save US, but also prevent the Communists from coming to power. Premier Vladimír Špidla won't want to cancel the agreement, because that could force the collapse of his government. President Václav Havel would then have to appoint a new cabinet, and Špidla might suddenly be out of a job.

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