Final Word from Monday, November 26, 2012

Václav Henych of the interior ministry is amazingly even-keeled and well-spoken for someone who has become an overnight laughingstock. His explanation of why grammatical ambiguity took precedence over science in deciding how to calculate the error rate in the gathering of presidential signatures was a piece of work. Few comic actors could manage that without breaking out laughing, but he did it. He denied on OVM yesterday that the calculation was intentionally botched as a way to discredit the direct presidential elections, but his straight-faced justification of a nonsensical decision tended to strengthen this widely held belief. Some of the political parties (ODS, TOP 09) are now using the uproar against the interior ministry to backpedal out of direct elections as fast as they can. Voters should not allow themselves to be hoodwinked. Despite the obvious shortcomings in the direct elections, this form of choosing a president is still better than leaving it up to a horse-trade between big-business lobbyists and politicians.[Czech Republic popular]

Glossary of difficult words

to backpedal - to reverse one's previous action or opinion;

even-keeled - characterized by stability or consistency;

laughingstock - a person subjected to general mockery or ridicule;

piece of work - a remarkable person, achievement or product;

to botch - to carry out a task badly or carelessly;

straight-faced - with a blank or serious facial expression;

to hoodwink - to deceive or trick;

horse-trade - hard and shrewd bargaining, esp. in politics.

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