Final Word from Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Senate is supposed to be a big part of the legislative checks and balances, but the first chance the wise men and women of the upper chamber got to make a legislative decision on their own, they passed a hugely important public-procurement amendment outside the bounds of the Constitution. They doubled the maximum amount for a non-public tender to Kč 6m for construction jobs and to Kč 2m for other contracts, and they did it as a "legal measure" that is only allowed under the Constitution if time is of the essence. Apparently, the senators thought that allowing mayors to replenish their party coffers through rigged contracts is one of the country's top priorities. The vote came on the same day as the humiliating verdict in the MUS money-laundering case. The message to those who understand what is going on is clear: Regardless of what a Swiss tribunal might say, we Czech politicians will keep doing things our way. [Czech Republic corruption Switzerland big-rigging municipal governments]

Glossary of difficult words

checks and balances - counterbalancing influences by which an organization or system is regulated, typically those ensuring that political power is not concentrated in the hands of individuals or groups;

non-public tender - not open to anyone wishing to participate, but rather to a predetermined group;

legal measure - a law passed by the Senate alone, when there is no lower house;

of the essence - critically important;

to replenish - to fill something up again;

coffers - government resources or funds;

rigged - managed or conducted in a fraudulent way to produce a result that is advantageous to a particular person;

tribunal - a court of justice.


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