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Banbury Cross

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Post details: Czech Mate? Well, more a stalemate.

Czech Mate? Well, more a stalemate.

On the Czech calendar, this June features two important events that repeat only every four years. The World Cup soccer and parliamentary elections. The soccer fiesta is still a few days off, so I'll squander one or two kilobytes of my blog's memory talking about the electoral drama, which took place this weekend.

After the fall of communism, the Czech Republic implemented a parliamentary system in which the election of carefully selected representatives affects everything. The government, the president, laws, you name it. With so much at stake, the campaign has been fierce and dirty indeed. The race between the ruling Social Democrats (left) and the Civic Democrats (right) was dead heat. An access to taxpayers sponsored troughs is not something to be taken lightly even in the country of good soldier Schweik.

Well, at the end of the day the Civic Democrats won by a few percent, but it turned out that theirs was the Pyrrhus' victory as they will not be able to form a majority government. The left-wing coalition won 100 seats (Social Democrats 74, Communists 26) and the right wing coalition got 100 seats as well (Civic Democrats 81, Christian Democrats 13, Green Party 6). This is as close as I ever remember. The leaders of both leading parties better get their scalpels honed, for the coalition talks will resemble a delicate operation.

This mathematically precise tie also means that the next government will not be able to pack too much punch, because for every horse pulling to the left there will be an equally strong horse pulling in the opposite direction, leaving the cart of the Czech economy in dolldrums. As such situation is kind of undesirable, let me propose a solution (obviously inspired by an upcoming World Cup): when a soccer match ends up in a tie, the players shoot the penalty kicks. There!

What I am suggesting is that both parties rent a soccer field, put red and blue soccer uniforms on and shoot some penalties, instead of making macho statements in the press. The party bosses, Mirek Topolanek and Jiri Paroubek, should be goalies, and 5 MPs from either side of the aisle should take care of the kicking. Whoever wins the shootout will get the extra seat and with the 101-99 ratio all the laws dear to their party's heart will pass. Albeit "with scraped ears" as the Czech saying goes.

Yes, I am serious. I really want to see Jiri Paroubek in baggy shorts and a dingy purple t-shirt diving to a goalpost, while MUDr. Mgr. Ivan Langer chips a lazy fluffy ball into the middle of the goal.

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