Final Word from Wednesday, September 15, 2010



Any government is susceptible to bad apples, but the quality of a democracy is partly determined by how it deals with officials who lose credibility or break the law. The new Czech government is unusual even for eastern countries in the sense that several key officials were already discredited before taking office, or soon thereafter. Transport Minister Vít Bárta was exposed by MFD in June as an apparent extortionist. The FAZ asked PM Petr Nečas in Aug. how creditable the government's war on corruption can be if Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has a convicted tax evader (Radek Šnábl) working for him. Dep. Finance Minister Martin Barták, who allegedly owns Alseda, is supposed to be the one stamping out money laundering. Jan Fulík, who allegedly clashed with the Coalition in Iraq over military secrets, is a key man at the defense ministry. Even by post-Communist standards, this is all a bit much.[Czech Republic MF Dnes Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung]

Glossary of difficult words

credibility deficit - lacking in credibility;

susceptible - likely or liable to be influenced or harmed by a particular thing;

bad/rotten apple - a bad or corrupt person in a group;

extortionist - someone who obtains or tries to obtain something, esp. money, through force or threats;

to stamp out - to put an end to; to crush or stop.

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