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Havel is perpetual source of emotions inside, outside country

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Prague, Sept 28 (CTK) – Vaclav Havel, a thinker and human rights activist, a prisoner of the Communist regime and then president of the Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia, has always provoked strong emotions.

In the world, he has been mostly admired, but the views of his political career differ.

The late poet, playwright, writer and politician would celebrate his 80th birthday on October 5. He died on December 18, 2011.

Before the 1989 fall of the Communist regime, Havel was the main symbol of anticommunist opposition.

Thanks to the fall of Communism, he became the head of state and he held the post for over 12 years.

He had the biggest influence on the domestic politics in the first period after the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when he could draw on the support by a crushing majority of the population.

He was also admired abroad. Havel was repeatedly proposed for the Peace Nobel Prize and the appeal of his personality helped the Czech Republic join NATO.

President Havel made the Czech proud, former U.S. secretary of state, a Czechoslovak native, Madeleine Albright, said about him.

For many people across the world, the word “Havel” and “Czech” are the same, she added.

Havel placed Prague and the Czech Republic on the map of the era after Cold War, Albright said.

In the post of president, Havel destroyed many previous taboos.

He opened Prague Castle, seat of Czech heads of state, to the public and returned its lost importance to it.

However, while he was an icon of the fight for freedom and democracy abroad, in the Czech Republic his popularity tended to fall during his terms of office.

His concept of “unpolitical politics” had many critics and he was also criticised for his “soft” attitude to the former Communists and a large-scale amnesty for the criminals convicted under the previous regime.

Even Havel’s big authority could not prevent the split of Czechoslovakia.

After the general election in 1992, in which the Civic Forum close to him suffered a crushing defeat and some Slovak deputies blocked his re-election, Havel stepped down.

Czechoslovakia’s subsequent division took place without his involvement.

The period after his return as the head of the new Czech state was affected by the disputes with Vaclav Klaus, leader of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and prime minister.

As the head of state, Havel several times strongly entered the political scene in the Czech Republic.

He resolutely intervened in the political crisis at the close of 1997 when he entrusted Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) leader Josef Lux with talks on forming a new government that was to rule until early elections.

This resulted in a caretaker government headed by Czech central bank governor Josef Tosovsky.

In December 1997, he delivered a speech before both parliamentary houses in which he strongly, though indirectly attacked Klaus.

Havel also vetoed an amendment to the election law, drafted by the ODS and the Social Democrats (CSSD), which gave an advantage to the strongest parties, the two at the time.

The Chamber of Deputies overruled his veto, but Havel turned to the Constitutional Court, which agreed with most of his objections.

The new form of the election law resulted from a compromise reached by all parties.

Havel insisted on never negotiating with the Communists (KSCM).

As president of the Czech Republic, Havel named four prime ministers and 70 ministers.

He also appointed 14 members of the central bank board, 19 constitutional judges, almost 1400 judges and over 1200 university professors. He vetoed 25 bills, but only succeed five times with his rejection.

During 12 years in office, Havel had 181 working and state visits to 59 countries.

Most frequently, he travelled to Germany, followed by the USA and France.

As the head of state, he spent 391 days on foreign trips.

Havel’s most famous foreign trip was his visit to the USA in 1990 where he delivered a speech to the Congress on February 21, after which he received standing ovations there.

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