Final Word from Thursday, June 13, 2002

Vladimír Špidla's success has been largely due to his ability to distance himself from Václav Klaus without accepting responsibility for being in bed with him for the past four years under the opposition agreement. Špidla says he doesn't want to work with Klaus again, and even when he's pressed hard, he argues that a ČSSD-ODS government is possible only under extreme circumstances. Klaus clearly fears that Špidla will turn to the Communists KSČM, if necessary, to facilitate a post-election deal with KDU-ČSL (or the entire Coalition). Špidla in fact told Lidové noviny that he wouldn't mind getting support from the Communists. By distancing himself so much from Klaus, Špidla is severely limiting his post-election negotiating room and introducing the possibility that the Communists will play their most important role of the past 10 years.


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