Final Word from Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Czech presidential elections are peculiar in the sense that the winner can be someone who doesn't even enter the race until after the early rounds of voting produce no results. Václav Klaus or Jiří Dienstbier might be the main candidates now, but someone entirely different could end up winning. Even if Klaus remains the favorite until election day, Dienstbier's role isn't for naught. He's a likeable guy who came up with an effective anti-Klaus slogan: Klaus is a know-it-all who spreads a lousy mood. Dienstbier probably can't win with this, but he might be able to prevent Klaus from winning - by bringing latent anti-Klaus sentiments to the surface. Klaus's spokesman, Petr Hájek, fell into Dienstbier's trap by reacting in a nasty, unpresidential way to Dienstbier's gibes at Klaus. The more Dienstbier stirs up the hornets' nest, the more likely it is that a complete outsider - such as Senate Chairman Přemysl Sobotka - will become the next Czech president.[Czech Republic ODS]


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