Final Word from Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Other than Václav Klaus, the big winner from the government crisis is KDU-ČSL Chair Miroslav Kalousek. He's a skilled negotiator who was cutting backroom deals at the defense ministry long before Stanislav Gross ever figured out how it's done. KDU was the only coalition party that did well in the European elections, and Kalousek has used this to make uncompromising demands on Designated Premier Stanislav Gross. Although the coalition lost the European elections as a team, Kalousek has gotten away with refusing to accept any of the collective blame. That's why it's important now for Gross to force Kalousek to give up one of KDU's three ministries. According to HN, Kalousek agreed late last night to "sacrifice" his longtime rival, Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, in exchange for two lesser ministries. Even when Kalousek loses, he wins.


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