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Sme: First free elections in 1990 sent Czechs, Slovaks to Europe

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Bratislava, June 9 (CTK) – The first free elections in former Czechoslovakia after the fall of communism, held in 1990, helped the Slovaks and Czechs enter the European area, but some of the public’s expectations have not been fulfilled, Slovak daily Sme writes yesterday.
“The Slovaks and Czechs did not end up badly. They made use of the chance of anchoring in the European, or rather Western area. The decisive step in this direction was the record 95 percent turnout [in the first general election after the communist regime fell in November 1989]. People knew why they were going to the polls. They got a chance of influencing developments in the state for the first time,” Sme writes.
However, the developments after the elections were not entirely in harmony with people’s expectations, Sme writes.
“Most people believed that we will catch up with the West in terms of three, maximally five years (pessimistic estimate)…Few supposed that the joint state of Slovaks and Czechs will fall apart so soon,” Sme writes.
This happened as from January 1, 1993 when the independent Slovak and Czech republics were established after the two nations’ 74-year coexistence in a joint state.
Sme writes that a less visible group of persons were building their economic background, of which ordinary citizens, squabbling about Slovak sovereignty and a hyphen in the name of Czechoslovakia had no idea.
“Few expected that some will reach fabulous wealth too easily while society will be only slowly catching up with the West. Few also anticipated that the feelings of disappointment will evoke nostalgia for the pre-November regime even one quarter-century later,” Sme wrote.

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