Final Word from Tuesday, August 19, 2003





When Jaroslav Tvrdík resigned in May as defense minister, he went overnight from being a respected cabinet member to being a laughingstock. He botched his resignation by flip-flopping several times and now can't find a job. Few people ascribed his career-damaging move to his age, perhaps because the 34-year-old Tvrdík's moustache and tall height hid the true number of his years. But a lack of experience no doubt did play a role. For several young cabinet members, running a ministry is the only real job they've had. A few, like Bohuslav Sobotka, have grown with the position. Others have become captive to lobbyists, underlings and advisers with more experience at getting their way. Premier Vladimír Špidla seems about to name another inexperienced whippersnapper, 34-year-old Zdeněk Koudelka, as justice minister. Judges are rubbing their hands in anticipation.

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