Final Word from Monday, December 20, 2004

Analyst Pavel Kohout of PPF told Czech Radio that he's never heard Stanislav Gross comment on economics. For this, Gross has Deputy Premier Martin Jahn and Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. MFD reported that Gross and Sobotka are planning to join together to guide ČSSD more toward the center, as a way to take votes from ODS. There's something fishy about this, though, because Gross is still talking like a young socialist. Petr Kolář of LN suggested that Gross is setting Sobotka up. He's supporting Sobotka for ČSSD vice chair, but perhaps merely as a way to get rid of him. The ambitious Sobotka represents a long-term threat to Gross. If Sobotka fails to win election in March, Jahn could be moved to finance minister and, as a non-party member, wouldn't pose a threat to Gross. Gross is famous for reading Dale Carnegie before bed, but Machiavelli comes in handier when everyone's out to get you. [Lidové noviny Czech Republic social democrats congress conference]

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