Final Word from Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just as commentators were beginning to grudgingly admire Václav Klaus for regaining his form and launching an offensive that could secure himself a prominent place in Czech politics for years after his second term expires in 2013, the president completely lost it. He made what was perhaps his worst political move ever. Out of the blue, he denied that he had ever reached a secret agreement with the coalition parties before Christmas. The cameras of course tell a different story, as all the TV channels reminded us last night. The obvious explanation for Klaus's unbelievable climbdown is that he realized he had overdone it and risked forever becoming the Czech Putin. But this doesn't explain why he didn't merely release the details of the secret agreement while, like in the case of his "opposition agreement" with Miloš Zeman in 1998, omitting the worst ones. This would have relieved much of the media pressure. Instead, Klaus risks becoming the old uncle of Czech politics that no one takes seriously anymore. [Czech Republic television third presidential elections]

Glossary of difficult words

to crack - to give way or cause to give way under torture, pressure or strain;

grudgingly - with reluctance or resentfulness;

to lose it - to lose control of one's temper or emotions;

out of the blue - without warning, unexpectedly;

climbdown - a retreat from an earlier position or opinion;

to omit - to leave out or exclude;

to relieve - to cause to become less severe or serious.


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