Final Word from Friday, December 6, 2002





A week before the parliamentary elections, Vladimír Špidla surprised everyone by taking control of Czech politics. One of our readers, a political analyst, said that Špidla could be in the process of pulling another big surprise. Špidla's sudden support for direct presidential elections is his way of saving his own job and blocking Miloš Zeman's return to power. Špidla knows that if Zeman strikes a deal with Václav Klaus, his own career is over and ČSSD risks splitting. To prevent such a deal, Špidla must be prepared to go as far as to strike his own deal with Klaus. Špidla could agree to ODS's idea of a one-round direct presidential vote, in which Klaus would likely get elected. No one would be expecting Špidla to turn to Klaus, but it would achieve three goals: Zeman would be gone, Špidla's cabinet would remain, and ODS would be rid of Klaus.

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