Final Word from Friday, March 18, 2011

Bohuslav Sobotka is the current Czech politician most often linked directly to major privatization scandals. As of today's ČSSD congress in Brno, he faces criminal complaints in the IPB deal and the OKD privatization. It's no coincidence that the main beneficiaries of these two deals, ČSOB in the first case and Zdeněk Bakala in the second, are in his corner in the battle for the ČSSD chairmanship. They're joined there by such notables as Jan Švejnar (who is ČSOB's supervisory board chairman), Radek Pokorný (who has lobbied for both) and, less directly, by Václav Havel. Sobotka's rival, Michal Hašek, has a strong support team too, including Václav Klaus, Vít Bárta, Petr Kellner, Tomáš Hrdlička, Jaromír Soukup and Jaroslav Tvrdík. Today's congress is often presented as a battle over the direction of Social Democracy, but it's more a matter of which clan will get its claws deeper into the country's social fabric.

Glossary of difficult words

quid pro quo - a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something;

beneficiary - a person who derives advantage from something;

corner - (in this sense) each of the diagonally opposite ends of the ring in boxing or wrestling;

notable - a famous or important person;

to get one's claws into - to find a way of influencing or controlling someone or something.


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