Final Word from Tuesday, April 22, 2003

When Václav Klaus was giving his final campaign speech in Parliament, Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda's reaction was caught by the TV camera on the corner of the screen. He drummed his fingers and rolled his eyes. After Klaus was elected, Svoboda soon went on the attack. Most recently, he criticized Klaus for not understanding the EU-accession issues. Shortly before that, he apparently played a role in airing the dispute between Klaus and U.S. Ambassador Craig Stapleton. (Klaus perhaps had Svoboda in mind when he spoke of "some politicians and media groups.") We've written before that Svoboda is trying harder than anyone else to carry the Havel torch. He apparently sees himself as the next Czech president, although he has denied having presidential ambitions. Svoboda's criticism of Klaus might seem impulsive, but it's more likely part of a long-term strategy.


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