Czech presidents

On February 15, Vaclav Klaus was re-elected as a president of the Czech Republic. He is the person, which is sympathetic for some ones and (very) non-sympathetic to other ones. He is quite controversial not only because of his opinions about the global worming and his claiming that ecology is not that important at all and so on. It is quite a pity that such an important person, as the Czech president is, do not take ecological problems more seriously. He does actually the contrary – belittle them.

He holds the post of the Czech president since 7 March 2003. But do you know who were the presidents before him? Yes, Vaclav Havel, the first president of democratic Czechoslovakia, is pretty well know. But how about the others?
The very first president of Czechoslovakia was Tomas Garrique Masaryk. A man, who was later often remembered for his strong character and for the popularity he had among the people. The times of his rule were later remembered as the golden times of this country, when there was a democracy and Czechoslovakia was one of the most advanced countries in Europe. He was a president from 1918 until 1935. After him, there was Edvard Benes, but soon the war was to break out. In 1938, shortly before the occupation, he resigned from his post and left the country for exile. Instead him, the hard job in hard times of the country was left on Emil Hacha. He had almost no power or possibilities and had to sign and do basically what Nazis told him. After the war, Benes came back from the exile and become the president of freed Czechoslovakia, his name is often remembered in context of so-called Benes´ decrees, among them those according to which Sudetten Germans were forced to leave Czechoslovakia and go to Germany. But those decrees were mainly prepared by the government, because president himself was not such powerful, as other Czech presidents also never were.

The first communist president was Klement Gottwald (1948 – 1953), after him was even named a town – Zlin was renamed to Gottwaldow. Then there was Antonin Zapotocky (1953 – 1957), then Antonin Novotny (1957 – 1968), after him Ludvik Svoboda (1968 – 1975) and finally Gustav Husak (1975 – 1989), who ruled for the longest time from the communist presidents, from the all Czech presidents only Tomas Garrique Masaryk was on the post longer.

As you probably know, the first Czech, respectively that time Czechoslovak president after the Velvet revolution was Vaclav Havel, if we do not count acting president Marian Calfa (December 10 – December 29 1989). Vaclav Havel, who is also respected as a drama writer, was elected on December 29 1989 and was quite popular for his charismatic personality. After the parting of Czechoslovakia in 1993 he also became the first president of the new Czech Republic and stayed on the post until 2003, when Vaclav Klaus got the post. Now Vaclav Havel is still active as a dramatist, his brand new drama is now to be played in the Archa theatre in Prague.

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