Déjà vu for Miloš Zeman

19.07.2018 - EB

Quicker than the Prague astronomical clock can strike 12, PM Miloš Zeman began making changes at state agencies and state-controlled companies after signing the "opposition agreement" in mid-1998. Even before receiving confirmation on Aug. 19, 1998, Zeman's cabinet approved a secret resolution calling for a vetting of managers and directors at 40 state-owned companies. Zeman said later that it was secret so that those involved wouldn't have time to "tunnel." Vice PM Pavel Rychetský singled out ČEZ and Transgas as companies that needed to be checked for their possible links to politics or organized crime. Twenty years later, Zeman is promising KSČM Chair Vojtěch Filip help in getting a seat at this same ČEZ. Filip wants the all-important swing vote, leaving Andrej Babiš with six seats and Martin Roman with five. Yet if Zeman had the power to wrench such a vote from Babiš's tightly gripped hands, why would he give it to Filip without strings attached?

Glossary of difficult words

to vet - to investigate (someone) thoroughly, esp. in order to ensure that he or she is suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty or trustworthiness;

to tunnel - to strip assets;

swing vote - a vote that has a decisive influence on the result of a poll;

to wrench - to pull or twist suddenly and violently;

strings attached - carrying special conditions or restrictions.

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