Final Word from Thursday, August 29, 2002

When Bohuslav Sobotka was named finance minister, the professional community said he was a good choice because ČSSD was short on economic experts. Only Václav Klaus criticized him for being young (30) and never holding a real job. Sobotka's handling of the flood tax is one of his first big tests, and he's waffling. He says everyone should contribute to recovery but also seems to sup-port a more progressive income tax affecting mainly professionals. Two other ČSSD experts, Pavel Mertlík and Jan Mládek, have been more consistent. They were disliked by Miloš Zeman and in his absence are making a comeback. They're often upstaging Sobotka and are establishing themselves as ČSSD's two leading economic voices. It was Sobotka himself who noted recently that the average life of a Czech finance minister isn't much more than a year....


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