Final Word from Thursday, May 23, 2002

Právo reported this week that ODS is considering reversing its negative stance on direct presidential elections. By doing so, ODS could eliminate one of the Coalition's top campaign advantages. Polls show that most Czechs favor direct elections, and the Coalition has been the biggest supporter of the idea. ODS believes, though, that Václav Klaus would stand a good chance of winning in a direct vote. He has boasted that he's by far the hardest worker of the potential candidates, and this is undoubtedly true. Klaus could see the presidency as a backup plan, in case he fails to become premier. But if the Constitution is changed in time for next year's presidential vote, direct elections could also pave the way for Václav Havel to run again. He insists that he plans to retire, but a direct confrontation with Klaus might be too tempting to resist.


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