Final Word from Wednesday, June 18, 2003

The former president of a country, company or organization can strive to strengthen the image and standing of the place he or she left, or to undermine it. A president, as the highest office-holder, commands attention and respect while performing his duties. Once out of office, his loss of power can be a letdown. As Václav Havel returns to politics, he must decide what kind of ex-president to be. His initial remarks suggest that he'll be an anti-Klaus ex-president - someone whose activities and comments are intended to "correct" those of his successor. His appointment as a goodwill ambassador by Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has so far been 90% internal politics and 10% good intention. As an anti-Klaus ex-president, Havel would be cheered by a few of Klaus' enemies, such as Svoboda, but most Czechs would probably prefer that Havel regain his former dignity.


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