Final Word from Monday, April 19, 2004





Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda came close to dying in a car accident last Thur., but through the magic of medicine he'll apparently fully recover within a few months. In the meantime, his absence in Parliament tomorrow will likely make it impossible for the coalition to override the president's veto of the VAT amendment. There's talk of asking Svoboda to resign from Parliament so that his vote can count. We've been critical of Svoboda but think his retirement from Parliament would be a loss. He's guilty of excessive ambition, but he's a good person. Unlike many of his political rivals, he's honest and loyal. His resignation from Parliament would save the VAT amendment, but it would ultimately weaken Premier Vladimír Špidla and hasten the effort of Špidla's rivals to install a provisional government and push through the remaining privatizations on the cheap. Václav Klaus

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