Final Word from Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra repeated yesterday on ČRo1 that he'll support MP Boris Šťastný as ODS's candidate for Prague mayor, as long as Šťastný doesn't ban smoking everywhere in the city. It was a simple enough statement, tinged with humor, but it might hide a cunning plan that, if played out correctly, could save ODS's proverbial ass in the municipal elections. By choosing fresh-faced Šťastný as its mayoral candidate, ODS would shift the debate somewhat away from all the dirty deals at city hall and toward such quality-of-life issues as Šťastný's pet peeve (smoking in restaurants), traffic congestion and support of culture and tourism. Even more importantly, a Šťastný candidacy might keep Václav Klaus and Petr Nečas from working at cross purposes. Nečas doesn't want Klaus to be able to blame him for an ODS disaster in Prague, so he's kept out of the race so far. Šťastný is a known Klaus admirer, though, and Vondra's positive words suggest that his cabinet and party boss (Nečas) might be able to embrace Šťastný too.[Czech Republic local]

Glossary of difficult words

a happy medium - a reasonable balance; the middle quality or state between two extremes; "Šťastný" means "happy"; 

tinged - affected somewhat by; Vondra is a smoker, so his comment is meant with humor; 

cunning - shrewd, clever, ingenious; 

to play out - to develop or progress in a certain direction;

to save someone's ass - to rescue; the slightly vulgar expression is used to underline the seriousness of the situation; 

proverbial - (of a word or phrase) referred to in a proverb or idiom; 

fresh-faced - having a clear and young-looking complexion; 

pet peeve - a personal dislike; 

at cross purposes - having different aims from one another.


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