Final Word from Thursday, November 21, 2002





Miloš Zeman is famous for how he groomed Vladimír Špidla as his successor, and Václav Klaus is infamous for not having groomed anyone. The International Herald Tribune wrote yesterday that Václav Havel has refused to groom a successor, leaving a leadership void when his term ends in Feb. It's debatable whether Havel could effectively influence the choice of the next president given the existing political system (perhaps his support would be the kiss of death), but it's true that he's done almost nothing to identify and promote a suitable replacement. Havel refuses to share the spotlight with anyone. His fellow prisoners from dissident days have complained that he always got all the attention, and he has now turned the Nato summit into a self-congratulatory farewell show. If Zeman becomes the next president (which is looking ever more likely), Havel will have to wonder how much he contributed to this.

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