Final Word from Wednesday, June 23, 2004

There are plenty of real and imagined political reasons for forcing Vladimír Špidla out of office, but there are financial reasons too. They haven't attracted any media attention so far. One of them is the privatization of Český Telecom. The three politicians who have most gotten in the way of the well-laid privatization plans for the phone company are Špidla himself, Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and IT Minister Vladimír Mlynář. It's no coincidence that they'd be totally shut out of the decision-making process under some of the scenarios being considered for the future government. The plans for Telecom have already been put in jeopardy because the "wrong" bidder won the tender for advising on the sale. When it comes time to choose the privatization committee and to arrange the sale to the preferred buyer, those calling the shots won't want to run the same risk again. There's too much money at stake.


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