25 Years Ago Today: The Velvet Divorce

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On January 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia separated peacefully into two new countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

It is also known as the Velvet Divorce, a reference to the bloodless Velvet Revolution of 1989 that led to the end of the rule of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the formation of a democratic government.

When the communist regime fell in 1989, ČSFR (Česká a Slovenská Federativní Republika) was established, yet again composed of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic and governed by the Federal Assembly. The newly-elected president Václav Havel was strongly against any breakup.

In fact, the majority of the population at the time was also against such an idea. In a country-wide poll from 1992, only 37% Czechs and 36% of Slovaks favored division and dissolution.

Politicians such as Václav Klaus wanted either a tighter federal system or outright dissolution. Slovak President Mečiar favored a confederate system likened to that of Belgium. After multiple meetings and the failure to arrive at a common solution, Klaus and Mečiar agreed with dissolution. 

Author: red

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