PRESS digest: PRAVDA DAILY

"What a head!"
By Dag Daniš


News item: President Ivan Gašparovič delivers a speech in parliament December 6 that was long but short on content.


An hour of boredom - that was the effect of the speech that President Ivan Gašparovič gave to parliament on December 6. After he read it, MPs were left to wonder why the president had asked to be allowed to address the legislature at all when he had nothing to say. At moments it looked as if everyone had fallen asleep, including the speaker.

Gašparovič clearly didn't appear before parliament in order to say anything, but rather in order to be heard, and to show that he is an important part of the political firmament. If he wants to run again in presidential elections in 2009 - and he does - he has to be a lot more active than he has been. His ambitions, however, are threatened by those of Vladimír Mečiar.

It is almost certain that Mečiar will demand that Fico sacrifice Gašparovič in 2009 and support him for president. Otherwise, the ruling coalition could have problems. So far, the prime minister is refusing, and that is understandable. Gašparovič is his close political ally, not Mečiar. Maybe it was even Fico who told the president to look more lively. Gašparovič's great weakness is his proverbial laziness.

The president wanted to show everyone that he was dead serious about being president, and that he was not in a hurry to retire. Except it didn't quite work out for him. He achieved quite the opposite, and proved that even though his term is only half up, he has already done quite enough.

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