Doomed from the Start

Monday, January 27th, 2014

SobotkaBohuslav Sobotka: this 42-year-old fellow (to the left) is going to be the new Czech Prime Minister as of this upcoming Wednesday, and you can read a fairly good introduction to the man in the GlobalPost (via Agence France-Presse). Yes, in the Czech Republic top politicians are often quite young – public personalities above a certain age are often discredited by what they did during the bad old days – and it’s good to get the political scene there somewhat back to normal, after a 2013 that saw a caretaker PM in place whom nobody wanted, after the previous head of government had to resign in a corruption scandal.

From that GlobalPost piece we learn things about Sobotka such as that he likes science fiction and is even said to have a sweet tooth. Yet a couple of passages strike a strange tone: “known for being short on charisma but long on integrity” or his declaration in an interview “I would like politics to be a bit more matter-of-fact in the future.”

Specifically, these things sound rather odd to anyone who has followed The Fleet Sheet’s Final Word (a free, English- or Czech-language, Monday-through-Thursday daily comment on Czech politics) for any length of time. There, Bohuslav Sobotka has long been known as “Suitcase Sobotka,” an indication of his preferred method of accepting illegal money – in the past, at least, such as when he served as the Czech Republic’s Finance Minister from 2002 to 2006 under three successive Social Democratic prime ministers.

Is this the same guy? He is! A rather ominous sign for his own prime minstership, one would think. And one would think correctly, as we read in today’s Final Word:

By our count, three Czech PMs have left office as a direct result of some sort of financial scandal (Václav Klaus, Stanislav Gross [under whom Sobotka was Finance Minister], Peter Nečas [the last properly-elected PM before Sobotka]). What sets new PM Bohuslav Sobotka apart from these three, as well as from the other seven Czech PMs, is that a potential financial scandal is hanging over him before he takes office.

The exact nature of that scandal is unimportant here. (You can read further if you’re curious.) The point, basically, is that the Czech Republic is a rather corrupt place, and its citizens know it, which results in a constant stream of new “reform” parties emerging at elections claiming to want to do something about that. The latest is “ANO 2011” (ano in Czech means “yes”), founded and dominated by the Czech Republic’s second-richest man, Andrej Babiš, who of course is in line to become Sobotka’s Finance Minister.

It’s a sad situation. But at least you can realize that this new Czech government is destined to no good end. And you read it in the Final Word – or, at least, here – first.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)