February 28, 2003

Terrible News From Prague -...

Terrible News From Prague -- Klaus Elected President: And by a vote or two, too.

Why is this bad? Because Klaus has either been in power or in a power-sharing agreement for most of the past 13 years. Power corrupts, especially in the newer democracies of Central Europe. And no, it doesn't matter how many times you can convince gullible young "classical liberals," despite all evidence to the contrary, that you're a Friedman-loving Thatcherite. Truth is, he obstructed the same economic reforms he swore by, blocked attempt after attempt to introduce transparency and decentralize government power, and clung to power like the raccoon guards his avocado.

If I understand things correctly, this will also mean that Klaus gets to nominate the next members of the Czech Constitutional Court, whose 10-year terms wind up this year. The Constitutional Court, along with the presidency, have served as checks & balances on the power of the political parties that run Parliament. Now, with Klaus in the Castle, and appointing the judges, and still serving as grand poobah of ODS, look for ever-more chances of corruption, and covering up whatever misdeeds he has directly presided over. Shoot, I wouldn't be surprised if his first order of business was to launch a smearing probe into the misbehavior of his predecessor, who he desperately wants to discredit. He's a prick with an inferiority complex, a would-be intellectual with incoherent ideas about foreign policy, and a ruthless partisan taking over what has been a non-partisan post (though one could argue that the politicization of the presidency is long overdue). Whatever; I think it's lousy news. UPDATE: Steve at PragueBlog is none too thrilled either, and gives a long list of reasons why.

Posted by at February 28, 2003 04:06 PM
Comments

I've always thought he was a small-minded nasty piece of work.

Today, the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza (arguably the best single source of comprehensive Central European news) also mentions he was against the idea of cooperation between the new Central European democracies in entering NATO and the EU, since he was convinced that the Czech Republic could jump to the head of the line if unencumbered by the more backward (in his view) remaining states.

But try to look on the bright side, he didn't exactly flourish as PM (if I'm not mistaken he's been a public but not powerful or powerful but less public figure for the last six years or so.)
Maybe the very public position of president is just the rope he needs to hang himself. Let's just hope he doesn't do too much damage between now and then.

Posted by: Michael Farris at March 1, 2003 05:31 AM
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ical liberals," despite all evidence to the contrary, that you're a Friedman-loving Thatcherite. Truth is, he obstructed the same economic reforms he swore by, blocked attempt after attempt to introduce transparency and decentralize government power, and clung to power like the raccoon guards his avocado.

If I understand things correctly, this will also mean that Klaus gets to nominate the next members of the Czech Constitutional Court, whose 10-year terms wind up this year. The Constitutional Court, along with the presidency, have served as checks & balances on the power of the political parties that run Parliament. Now, with Klaus in the Castle, and appointing the judges, and still serving as grand poobah of ODS, look for ever-more chances of corruption, and covering up whatever misdeeds he has directly presided over. Shoot, I wouldn't be surprised if his first order of business was to launch a smearing probe into the misbehavior of his predecessor, who he desperately wants to discredit. He's a prick with an inferiority complex, a would-be intellectual with incoherent ideas about foreign policy, and a ruthless partisan taking over what has been a non-partisan post (though one could argue that the politicization of the presidency is long overdue). Whatever; I think it's lousy news. UPDATE: Steve at PragueBlog is none too thrilled either, and gives a long list of reasons why.

Posted by at February 28, 2003 04:06 PM
Comments

I've always thought he was a small-minded nasty piece of work.

Today, the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza (arguably the best single source of comprehensive Central European news) also mentions he was against the idea of cooperation between the new Central European democracies in entering NATO and the EU, since he was convinced that the Czech Republic could jump to the head of the line if unencumbered by the more backward (in his view) remaining states.

But try to look on the bright side, he didn't exactly flourish as PM (if I'm not mistaken he's been a public but not powerful or powerful but less public figure for the last six years or so.)
Maybe the very public position of presidentpe he needs to hang himself. Let's just hope he doesn't do too much damage between now and then.

Posted by: Michael Farris at March 1, 2003 05:31 AM
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