Final Word from Monday, December 29, 2003





In recent interviews, Premier Vladimír Špidla has stressed how carefully a person in his position must weigh his words. He told Právo that a prime minister can't let loose with whatever reaches the tip of his tongue and has no right to talk nonsense. In this spirit, Špidla usually answers questions with a brevity and finality that isn't tolerated from the leaders of many other democratic countries. But in an interview on Czech Radio last week, Špidla repeated a claim by Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka that the privatization of the coal mines is the first privatization that isn't a "tunnel job." With no evidence, he cast doubt on hundreds of past privatization deals. Was Špidla making a faux pas of the kind that he himself says he can't afford? Or was he perhaps signaling, like Vladimir Putin, that privatization fraud will be one of his main re-election themes? Severočeské doly Sokolovská uhelná

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