Final Word from Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Only a handful of Czechs would make the shortlist for Person of the Year. The most obvious are Miloš Zeman and Andrej Babiš. Bohuslav Sobotka would also be there for keeping the coalition together, even if he's merely doing his job. A wild-card choice would be Tonda Blaník, the fictional lobbyist who has so brilliantly exposed the crookedness of Czech politics. Our choice for Person of the Year is instead MP Jan Farský of TOP 09/STAN. He isn't as well-known or as influential as any of these, but he has made a small difference in the effort to eliminate the loopholes that allow semi-official corruption to flourish in this country. Most recently he helped prevent an increase in the allowable extra-work on construction jobs without a tender from 20% to 50%. Jan Farský deserves praise and recognition for truly trying to improve the legal framework in the country, unlike 95% of those who purport to be anti-corruption warriors. [Czech Republic no-bid]

Glossary of difficult words

wild-card - an athlete or team selected to compete in a tournament or playoff from among those that did not qualify by meeting the regular requirements; an unpredictable or unforeseen factor;

crookedness - the state or quality of being dishonest or fraudulent;

loophole - an ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules;

to purport - to appear or claim to be or do something, esp. falsely; to profess.

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