Final Word from Thursday, June 20, 2002

Václav Klaus' best chance to redeem himself for a weak election performance is to engineer a grand coalition with ČSSD. If Klaus were able to win over a few US-DEU leaders who aren't happy with their partnership with KDU-ČSL, he could block a ČSSD-Coalition cabinet and move a step closer to his goal. Ivan Pilip could be one of his top targets. Pilip has been thrown overboard by both ČSSD and KDU and could be near the end of his political career. In a poll of analysts, we found that there's still considerable support for him as finance minister. Vladimír Špidla has made it clear that he doesn't want Pilip as minister, but Špidla might find that it's safer to have him as an ally than as an enemy. Klaus has had it both ways with Pilip and is now sending signals that a ČSSD-ODS-US grand coalition - minus Špidla - might be worth considering.


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