Final Word from Friday, January 24, 2003

If forced to choose between Václav Klaus and Miloš Zeman, most people we've talked to would mark "neither of the above." Without this option, most would begrudgingly choose Klaus. He inspires greater respect and has a less undesirable group around him. Both have things in their past that would exclude them from the presidency in most civilized countries, but the main difference is that Zeman's future behavior evokes greater concern. Klaus at least gives the impression that he'd be a statesmanlike, upstanding president, and there is no doubt he could be one if he tried. Zeman probably doesn't have it in him. What the people think, though, might not matter, because lawmakers will decide. Some, like Sen. Vladimír Železný, are ready to vote for whichever one appears to have the upper hand. Issues such as statesmanship and dignity play little role for them.


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