Final Word from Monday, January 23, 2012

Senator Petr Pithart told Právo that Czech presidents routinely overstep their constitutionalauthority and get away with it. This is why he fears electing a president bypopular vote. The person would have a stronger mandate than now, he said, so whatif times got really bad, and the president turned out to be a lunatic or a dictator? Thereal power to limit personal freedoms in a state of emergency rests with the cabinetand the Parliament, but Pithart is right that the president could indeed use the meansat his or her disposal to override or supplement this. Much might depend on whothe president was and whose interests he or she represented. Miroslava Němcová, forexample, might be a surrogate for Václav Klaus. Jan Švejnar has links to the U.S. andto banking. Jan Fischer derives support from the London banking community. FootlooseTomio Okamura might actually be the president we should fear the least.

Glossary of difficult words

to get away with something - to escape blame or punishment for something;

lunatic - a crazy person;

at one's disposal - available for one to use whenever or however one wishes;

to override - to overrule, countermand, veto;

surrogate - a substitute for someone else;

footloose - able to travel freely and do as one pleases due to a lack of responsibilities or commitments.


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