Final Word from Monday, November 5, 2007

Václav Klaus couldn't hope for a better challenger in the presidential election than Prof. Jan Švejnar, the ČSSD/Green candidate. Švejnar has absolutely no chance of winning (okay, we'll be magnanimous and give him 5% odds). He's an emigrant who only occasionally parachutes into Prague, he's too free-market to win the key Communist vote, and he's the supervisory board chair of ČSOB. This gives the Klaus clan more artillery than it has against any of the other possible candidates. It also makes it more likely that ODS will unite fully behind Klaus. If Švejnar accepts the nomination, it will be for purposes of self-promotion, not because he can win. But in the process he's becoming a liability for ČSOB. He'll have to decide this week which is worth more, the (increasingly bad) publicity, or the monthly check from the bank. As an economist, he'll see that he's already milked this gig for all it's worth.[Czech Republic elections]


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