The Presidency Candidate
Jan Svejnar (born in 1952) is a US-based, Czechoslovakia-born economist. An adviser to former Czech president Vaclav Havel for almost a decade, Professor Svejnar is the Director of the International Policy Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the Everett E. Berg Professor of Business Administration, and Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
Strangely enough, his excellent career lowers his chances to became the president. He may be handicapped that he didn’t live in the Czech Republic and now he doesn’t permanently stay at the country. However his economic institute CERGE in Prague is quite significant – it is a joint workplace of the Charles University in Prague and Economics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, that offers an American-style PhD. program in economics. The idea is to educates the new generation of elite economists for Central-East Europe and the Newly Independent States.
Jan Svejnar was offered by Vaclav Havel the prime minister’s post of Vaclav Klaus, freed when Klaus’ government fell in 1997. He couldn’t accept it, because he didn’t have Czech citizenship at that time (he emigrated at the age of 17, otherwise his passport would be confiscated according to communist law). Josef Tosovsky than became the prime minster. Now, being a Czech citizen, Jan Svejnar may became the new president of the Czech Republic.
Professor Svejnar graduated from the Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relationships and obtained a PhD. in Economics at the Princeton University. His academic interests are in the areas of economic development and transition, labor economics and behavior of the firm.
He gained support of all the Czech political parties except for the ODS (Civic Democratic Party), whose candidate is the present president Vaclav Klaus. Even when liberal, Jan Svejnar is supported by the left-wing parties, because of his criticism of Klaus’ policy; namely the equal tax, post-revolutionary economical reformation, supporting of the rich on the account of the poor and Euro skepticism.