Final Word from Thursday, January 23, 2003

Lawmakers like being able to choose the president, because this allows them to do backroom deals. Most of the parties say they favor direct elections, but this could change if their candidate gets into power and has to think about reelection. Václav Klaus might be faced tomorrow with the choice of pushing for direct elections or delaying the second or third round and working out a deal with Miloš Zeman. Klaus' tactic of criticizing Zeman for huckstering for votes is the surprise of the current election. The opposition agreement was the quintessential horse trade, but Klaus knows that ODS got burned. It suffered more in the general elections, and Zeman didn't always abide by the agreement. Klaus cleverly and unexpectedly has now turned this against Zeman. If Klaus has any chance of beating Zeman in the indirect vote, it's because he's refusing to do any dealing. vs.


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