Czech Republic: Communists Support New President

The Czech Communist Party provided Vaclav Klaus, 61, with the crucial votes he needed after weeks of stalemate led to an impasse in the attempt to elect a successor to Vaclav Havel, whose mandate terminated on February 2nd.

According to the Czech constitution, the two Chambers of Parliament must agree on a candidate for the Presidency. After voting sessions on 15th and 24th January failed to gain the 141 votes out of the 280 needed (50% plus one), the Communists and the Democratic Civic Party (Conservative), gave the former Prime Minister the edge.

Vaclav Klaus was the Finance Minister after the Velvet Revolution in 1989 swept the Communists from power, becoming Prime Minister in 1992. In 1993, he signed the Separation Treaty with Slovakia, divorcing this country from the Czech Republic, dissolving Czechoslovakia.