Final Word from Wednesday, April 7, 2004





Everyone knows Miloš Zeman has been trying to undermine Vladimír Špidla's authority, but what about Interior Minister Stanislav Gross? Has he, too, been actively working to bring Špidla down? Alexandr Mitrofanov of Právo wrote in Jan. that Zeman and Gross might have reached a pact calling for Gross to become ČSSD's chairman and Zeman to be its next presidential candidate. This would require a coordinated effort. Intentionally or not, Gross is indeed destroying the cabinet's credibility. He pushes through major decisions when Špidla is out of town and is behind the recent below-value privatization deals. (Český Telecom is next, we hear). Martin Fendrych of Týden suggested that a sweeping cabinet reshuffle is needed, with Gross at the top of the list. Sacking Gross would be a big gamble for Špidla, but it might be the only thing that can save him.

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