Final Word from Monday, March 8, 2004

The resignation of two MPs from US-DEU last week gave the opposition its best chance yet to bring down the cabinet. Neither ODS nor the Communists, though, are eager to take this step. The Communists, as ODS Vice Chair Petr Nečas likes to point out, are already propping up the cabinet by having an MP miss close votes in Parliament in order to lower the number of votes needed for passage. In terms of ODS, much still depends on Vlastimil Tlustý, who could invite US's rebels to switch camps. He reportedly wants to be party chairman and premier, though, which means he first needs to push aside Mirek Topolánek. The recent spat over Pavel Telička's Communist past has weakened Tlustý, at least temporarily. Vladimír Špidla bought himself some time by wondering out loud why ODS is against Telička when Tlustý, too, was a Communist at the same time.


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