Final Word from Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Most anyone who follows the Czech press would have to conclude that Vladimír Špidla will be replaced this weekend by Stanislav Gross as head of ČSSD. Such reports are everywhere. The tide turned against Špidla when Miloš Zeman's key supporters started criticizing their former mentor and jumped to the Gross camp. Surprisingly, almost no one suspects Zeman of trying to set up Špidla and Gross, the two people he most blames for his abrupt exit from politics. But what if Zeman plans to use his people to force early elections when ČSSD is at its lowest? He could then ride ČSSD's election disaster to oust both Špidla and Gross and regain control of the party. Granted, this might seem unlikely given Zeman's clumsy departure, but Špidla told MFD on Sat. that if he deserves any criticism, it's for underestimating Zeman's earlier comeback ambitions.


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