Final Word from Monday, June 28, 2004

Vladimír Špidla announced his resignation on Sat. as ČSSD chairman and premier, to the approval of almost everyone. It's easy to criticize Špidla for being uncharismatic and too socialist (or not socialist enough, depending on your point of view). It's even fair to say he made compromises that removed much of the luster of his incorruptibility. There were, after all, numerous personnel, procurement and privatization decisions that he ultimately must answer for. Yet all the while, Špidla acted as a flame retardant. He wasn't able to put out all the fires that Stanislav Gross, Jaroslav Palas and others kept setting, but he was able to beat them back and keep most of them from erupting into full-fledged disasters. With Špidla gone, there won't be anyone to serve this function. This is bad news for those who thought EU accession would bring greater transparency to the privatization and government-procurement processes. agriculture minister interior fall collapse government cabinet


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