Václav Klaus

(b. 1941)

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(b. 19 June 1941).

Prime Minister of the Czech Lands 1992; Prime Minister of the Czech Republic 1993–98; President of the Czech Republic, 2003–Born in Prague, he received a doctorate in economics in 1967 and joined the Academy of Science. Owing to his democratic views he was forced to resign in 1970, and to take employment in the state bank. During the Velvet Revolution of 1989, he was the economic spokesman for the civil rights movement. He became Minister of Finance after the collapse of the Communist regime. In 1991, he became President of the Democratic Citizens' Party (ODS), which won the Czech general election of 1992. Klaus thus became Prime Minister of the Czech part of Czechoslovakia, which became independent on 1 January 1993. He carried out the most radical monetarist economic reforms of any leader of a former Comecon state. Between October 1991 and October 1994, more than six million Czechs were given shares in over 1,800 companies. In 1998, he was forced to resign owing to accusations of corruption involving political payments from privatized companies. He continued to be an influential figure in Czech politics as President of the House of Representatives. In 2003, Klaus benefited from the disunity of the governing coalition, and was elected President. Even though his duties were largely ceremonial, he occupied an important position in the political crisis of 2006–7, when no party was able to form a stable government following the elections of June 2006.

Subjects: Politics — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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