Czech Republic. At the end of December 2000 and at the
beginning of 2001, the Czech society was dominated by a
severe conflict on the state broadcaster CT. The majority of
journalists refused to accept the newly appointed chief Jiří
Hodac, who they believed was employed and acted on political
grounds. The journalists, who were supported by President
Havel, announced a strike and occupied the newsroom. Their
shipments were blocked by the company's management. More
than 120,000 people signed a petition in support of the
journalists and at the Wenceslas Square in Prague
demonstrated tens of thousands of people and demanded
Hodac's departure. The conflict turned into a social crisis
where politicians accused each other of undermining
democracy. Disagreement went right through the government.
Jiří Hodac eventually gave up and resigned after he became
ill and was taken to hospital.
In April, Minister of Finance Pavel Mertlik resigned
since the government staged his plans for privatization of
the country's electricity and gas networks. Mertlik was seen
as a key person for the renewal of social democracy and his
departure aroused uncertainty over economic reforms just as
the Czech Republic was preparing for EU accession.
Countryaah, the disputed Temelin nuclear power plant near the
Austrian border had to be stopped due to technical problems
several times during the year. Austrian protesters demanded
the closure of the reactor, which began to be built during
the communist era. The Austrian government party FPÖ has
made the solution of the security at Temelin a condition for
approving a Czech membership in the EU. The conflict was
raised in EU-led negotiations in Brussels, where Prime
Minister Milos¡ Zeman and Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang
Schüssel agreed in November on joint measures to investigate
and improve the safety of the nuclear power plant. The Czech
Republic agreed that Temelin should be taken into normal
operation only after resolving all security issues raised by
In December, the government decided to start negotiations
with Swedish Saab and its British partner BAE Systems on the
purchase of 24 copies of JAS 39 Gripen.
A new constitution for the Czech Republic (Czech
Republic) was adopted in 1992. It came into force on January
1, 1993, when Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. According to
the new constitution, the Czech Republic should be a
republic and have a two-chamber system of deputies and the
Senate. On January 26, 1993, Václav Havel was elected Czech
Republic's first president. He had been President of
Czechoslovakia from December 1989 to July 1992. The Czech
State Assembly (elected 1992) was renewed for the 1996
general election and continued as the independent Czech
Republic's first Chamber of Deputies. The Senate did not
take office until after the 1996 elections. After the 1992
election, a coalition government formed by the Democratic
Citizens' Party (ODS) was formed.), The Democratic Citizens'
Alliance (ODA) and the Christian-Democratic Union - the
Czech People's Party (KDU-ČSL). The largest party in the
coalition was ODS, led by Václav Klaus. ODS was founded in
February 1991 and was part of the former Citizens' Forum.
ODS 'main focus was a radical transition to a market
The other important party is the Czech Social Democratic
Party (ČSSD), with roots back to pre-communist times. It was
founded in 1878, but was forced to merge with the Communist
Party in 1948, and began to function again in November 1989.
The party then defined itself as a "western" Social
Democratic Party, led by Miloš Zeman.
In the fall of 1997, Klaus had to step down as prime
minister after losing support from his coalition partners.
Several of the key figures in Klaus' party ODS also signed
out and founded the Freedom Union (US) as a competing
right-wing party. In December 1997, when there was no basis
for a new coalition government, the partisan central bank
governor Josef Tošovský formed a right-wing transitional
government until new elections could be held. After the 1998
elections, the Social Democrats were clearly the largest
with 32.2% of the vote and 74 seats in the new parliament.
ODS was the second largest with 27.7%. Zeman took over as
At the 2002 elections, the Social Democrats retained the
position as the largest party, but the Communists also
unexpectedly made it strong. Vladimir Špidla became new
prime minister; he retired in 2004 and was replaced by
Stanislav Gross. However, Gross had to step down after only
eight months due. a housing scandal and replaced by Jirí
Paroubek. He was the fourth Social Democratic Prime Minister
in a row. The Social Democrats experienced failing
confidence, but under Paroubek, confidence was well
restored, even though the ODS again became the largest party
at 35.4% in the 2006 parliamentary elections, the Social
Democrats gained 32.3%.
However, the parliamentary situation remained unclear, as
the Social Democrats and Communists together received 100 of
the 200 seats and there was no basis for a majority
coalition. After a long political pull, in August 2006,
President Klaus appointed a new ODS-led government led by
Mirek Topolánek, formally deployed after receiving a
declaration of confidence by Parliament in September. This
government never became effective, and it will go down in
2009, amid the Czech presidency of the EU. Toplanek was
followed by the partyless Jan Fischer, who led a
transitional government with support from the ODS, ČSSD and
the Green Party. In 2010, this election was followed by Petr
Nečas'right-wing government, which sat until 2013, and was
followed by a business ministry under Jiří Rusnok.
Alongside the contradictions between and within the
political parties, there was also a distinct tension between
Prime Minister Klaus and President Havel for several years.
In 1998, Havel was re-elected as President of Parliament. He
was the only candidate in the second round of elections, but
in the Chamber of Deputies there was only one vote for him.
When his term expired in 2003, the National Assembly could
not agree. President Havel's powers of attorney were
transferred to the President of the National Assembly. Only
in the third round of elections was a new president elected
- the former Prime Minister Václav Klaus. Klaus was
re-elected by the National Assembly. at the first general
election of president - in 2013 - the independent Social
Democrat Miloš Zeman was elected.