Final Word from Tuesday, January 14, 2003

The double-agent, anti-hero in Graham Green's novel The Human Factor said it's better to tell the truth when possible, because the truth is easier to remember. Of all the presidential candidates, Petr Pithart is the only one who gives the impression of being honest out of principle. For Pithart the politician, this "character flaw" might be his undoing. He's the only candidate with any significant chance of winning the first set of elections in Parliament starting tomorrow, but to do so, he'll need crossover votes from past supporters of Miloš Zeman or Václav Klaus, not to mention Jaroslav Bureš. Pithart is a run-on-the-mill candidate, says Martin Fendrych of Týden, but he also has a habit of telling the truth. Bank privatization, he told TV Prima, was delayed so the banks could make sweetheart loans to favored industrialists. This might be more truth than some MPs want to hear.


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