Standa costs me beers

A couple of weeks ago I bet some friends that Stanislav Gross would be out of office by the end of February. I was wrong, and so will be buying beers at a date and place soon to be named.

I’m still surprised that Gross has managed so far to save his own skin, but am convinced that his already razor-thin mandate (one vote, fer chrissake) is irreparably weakened.

On the way to Berlin, I had the pleasure of reading Erik Tabery’s column in Respekt on the matter, called “Notes from the Demolition of the State” (unfortunately, it’s behind their subscription mechanism now, but here’s the link anyway). I started to translate it, but events seem to have accelerated the column’s expiration date.

Tabery had three main points about the situation.

First, if there was anything good to be had from the affair, it is that leaders of all parties will not be able to get away with such brazen corruption as they have done in the past; the media and the opposition are doing a good enough job of being a watchdog.

Second, the electoral system, with its patchwork of small parties and reliance on coalitions, is doing exactly what it should. Tabery pointed out that if the Social Democrats (or even the ODS for that matter) held a clear majority, scandals like this would be definitely swept under the rug. Klaus’ timing in calling for electoral reform couldn’t be worse, Tabery writes.

Third, even if Gross succeeds in holding on to power until parliamentary elections, opposition mishandling of the situation will only result in one thing: the Communists are closer than ever to power.

3 thoughts on “Standa costs me beers

  1. While I agree with the idea that the proportional system is better for us, Respekt has its share of máslo na hlavě: see http://tagblatt.bloguje.cz/0503archiv.php#120683 (the whole weblog might be of interest for you).

    P. S. In the “Main Menu” right column, there’s “Blesk’s Iveta BartoÅ¡ová thing” once with the right diacritics at the very end as cat=22 and once in the middle, mangled by some Unicode mishap, as cat=9.
    (Feel free to delete this part, if your system of moderating comments allows it.)

  2. In going over the article again, I found this section, which actually refers to Respekt’s support of a British-style “First Round The Post” electoral system:

    “This paper supported a majority system in debates in the 1990s along the lines of the British model, especially with the increased responsibility such a system would bring. But with the passage of time, growing affairs and politicking, it is clear that a majority system, Czech-style, would only bring the possibility of providing cover for irresponsibility and even crime. Coalition governments show that they are a boon because a partner is more critical than a fellow party member, and mainly don’t have the same motivation to simply let culprits sink away. This was shown in 1997, when the cabinet of Václav Klaus fell because of dirty money, as well as today with Stanislav Gross‘ shaky situation. To change the electoral system at this time reminds one of a pacient with a thermometer showing fever, but who instead asks for another measurement.”

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