25 Years Since Václav Havel Elected Czech President

Prague Morning

Prague Morning

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25 years ago today, the dissident playwright Václav Havel became the first president of the Czech Republic. 

Havel was the most unexpected, and most brilliant, of the new leaders who emerged from east Europe's peaceful revolutions against Communism.

Havel defeated two opponents in a vote by the 200-member Czech Parliament, receiving 109 votes in a secret ballot. He was supported by the four-party Government coalition headed by Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus.

As a dissident writer, Havel was imprisoned under Communist rule and was later a leader of the so-called Velvet Revolution that forced the hard-line Communist Government from power in November 1989. 

He became President late that year and resigned last July, after the party of the Slovak Prime Minister, Vladimir Meciar, blocked his re-election in the old Czechoslovak Parliament.

Havel left the presidency in 2003, to be followed by his old opponent Klaus. In political retire, ent he published a memoir of his time in office, To the Castle and Back, and wrote his first new plays for almost 20 years. 

Author: red

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