Final Word from Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Has Stanislav Gross fallen into a triple trap set independently by Vladimír Špidla, Miloš Zeman and Václav Klaus? Trap No. 1: By walking away as premier, Špidla forced Gross into a job he didn't necessarily want. Špidla can now claim sweet revenge if Gross goes down too. Trap No. 2: As Týden noted, the Zemanites who were prodding Gross along are now withdrawing their support. Trap No. 3: Klaus reportedly agreed in advance with Gross on the formation of the next cabinet but is now doubting Gross's ability to get the votes. A Gross disaster would help ODS and, as Jan Machá-ček of HN said, serve to eliminate a rival to Klaus for popularity. Political analyst Petr Nováček of Czech Radio said he can't imagine that Gross would get himself into such a situation unless he knew in advance how to get out. Euro noted, though, that Gross shined while he stood beside Zeman and Špidla but isn't their match when he's on his own.


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