Final Word from Monday, June 20, 2005

ODS supporters who watched Jan Kraus's Leno-like talk show Fri. night on Czech TV should have been worried. Premier Jiří Paroubek put in a masterful performance. He was charming, funny and self-deprecating. By Sun., though, Paroubek had lost his magic. Weary from the EU summit, he faced ODS Chair Mirek Topolánek in a debate that was anything but exciting. Who, in the end, won the encounter is a toss-up. On Fri., Paroubek had cheekily mentioned a grand coalition of ČSSD and ODS (in that order), but Topolánek threw it back in his face on Sun. He rejected the coalition idea and referred condescendingly to Právo, the alleged purveyor of the tie-up, as ČSSD's party newspaper. But it was Alexandr Mitrofanov of Právo who noted that Paroubek's charisma is limited and might run out by the elections. Indeed, if Paroubek is already past his peak, ČSSD is in trouble. [Czech Republic Jay Leno Tonight Show Uvolněte se, prosím Czech Television European Union ČSSD prime minister Otázky]


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