Final Word from Thursday, February 26, 2004





KDU-ČSL Chair Miroslav Kalousek achieved two goals by opposing ex-Communist Pavel Telička's appointment as EU commissioner. First, he strengthened his own position and that of his party within the coalition. He showed KDU's voters and partners that his party is principled and is in a position to dissolve the government at any time if a decision goes against its interests. Second, he succeeded in crippling a potential rival. Telička is a career diplomat, but the moment he becomes commissioner, he turns into a politician. And his credentials will make him a formidable player. He'll hold one of the country's top 3-4 political positions, but without paying any political dues. Kalousek can now be happy: Telička told the BBC last night that it's highly unlikely, given the treatment he's gotten so far, that he'll remain in politics after his term as commissioner expires.

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