Final Word from Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Adding insult to injury, Pavel Telička has become the CR's most popular politician. First he angered KDU-ČSL and ODS by being chosen as the CR's European commissioner, and now he has embarrassed his detractors by topping a STEM popularity poll, before he even officially becomes a politician. (He assumes his post on May 1.) Instead of understanding this as a message from voters, politicians will see it as an unwelcome threat from an outsider. Pressure will grow to remove him from his post when his six-month term expires near the end of the year. Telička might end up having the last laugh. His six months as commissioner will give him the inside track to a powerful non-political job in the Brussels bureaucracy, where many key decisions are made. The politicians dis-paraging him now might find that he's an important person to butter up later.


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