According to ehistorylib, in 2005, the population of the Czech Republic was estimated to be around 10.3 million people. The majority of the population was of Czech descent with a large minority of Slovaks and other ethnic minorities. The economy was largely dependent on services, with manufacturing and tourism being important contributors as well. Foreign relations were generally good due to the Czech Republic’s commitment to democracy and its efforts to join the European Union. Politically, the Czech Republic was a parliamentary republic with Prime Minister Stanislav Gross at the helm. Gross had been elected in 2004 after a period of economic growth under his predecessor Vladimir Spidla. Gross’s government focused on strengthening ties with other European countries as well as improving economic development within the country and reducing unemployment rates. His policies were generally well received by most Czechs although there were some concerns about human rights abuses committed by security forces during his tenure.
Czech Republic. According to countryaah, Prague is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Czech Republic. Prime Minister Stanislav Gross was asked at the beginning of the year by the country’s anti-corruption authority to explain how he, with his salary, was able to pay for the luxury apartment in Prague that he bought five years earlier. Social Democrat Gross found it difficult to give credible explanations, and the widespread media attention about the business created problems for the government, whose opinion figures fell. The Christian Democrats demanded that Gross resign, but he refused, prompting the Christian Democratic Union to leave the government.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym EZ stands for the country of Czech Republic and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
Gross passed a vote of no confidence in early April by the opposition Communist Party abstaining, but the Freedom Union refused to continue in a government supported by the Communists. Gross was therefore forced to resign when his own Social Democrats agreed with his coalition partners to reform the government. The new Prime Minister was appointed Deputy Party Leader of the Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek, who was approved by 101 votes to 99 in a vote of confidence in Parliament in May. Paroubek had previously been Deputy Mayor of Prague and served in the government for a short period as Minister of Regional Development.
The previous contradictions between the government and President Václav Klaus also continued during the new prime minister. Klaus opposed the ratification of the EU’s new constitution, while Paroubek wanted to hold a referendum on the issue. They both ended up in conflict over the so-called Sudanese who were persecuted and driven to Germany and Austria at the end of the Second World War. At a visit to Austria in July, Paroubek explained that Sudanese who could prove that they opposed the Nazis would receive compensation from the Czech Republic. President Klaus was upset and explained that Paroubek had become “completely crazy”. Another quarrel erupted after some 80 people were injured when a large police force used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a rave party. The prime minister defended the police’s methods, while the president condemned them.
At the end of the year, the Czech schools launched a project aimed at making the young people aware of the communist era in the country. A report had shown that the communist era was rarely mentioned in school history lessons and that young Czechs knew very little about the country’s history during the second half of the 20th century. Documentary films would be shown and schools were invited to invite people persecuted during communism. The information campaign, which was to be carried out by a human rights organization, was criticized by the Communist Party as “unbalanced” and “unilateral”.
The reform process that began with the appointment of Mihail Gorbachov as First Secretary of the Russian Communist Party brought about changes in Czechoslovakia. Despite heavy reprisals, the hostile demonstrations continued in 1989 and led to a crisis before the regime.
The government was forced to negotiate with the Citizens’ Forum, a union of several opposition groups. Parliament adopted, inter alia, the abolition of the Communist Party (CCP) leadership monopoly. In late 1989, a provisional government was formed with a majority of non-communists.
The Citizens’ Forum in December 1989 accused the CCP of placing their members on key posts. About 200,000 people gathered in Prague to demand stronger representation in the government of opposition people. Gustav Husak resigned as president of the federation and was replaced by playwright Vaclav Havel, who issued amnesty to political prisoners and postponed elections for June 1990.
The Soviet and Czech governments agreed in late 1989 on the terms of withdrawal of the 70,000 Red Army soldiers deployed in the country. Charter 77 had demanded the dissolution of the two military blocs that divided the continent, but down the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact and at the risk of nationalist conflicts like the one in Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, along with Hungary and Poland, applied to become NATO associates.
In the June 1990 elections, Vaclav Havel was re-elected president and the Czech-Slovak Federal State was proclaimed. The President welcomed the idea of Francois Mitterrand’s idea of forming a European Union, including the Eastern European countries, shortly after. In September of that year, the country was admitted to the World Bank and IMF.
After the election, the Citizens’ Forum was split into the Democratic Citizens’ Party, the self-appointed right-wing party, with a conservative program, and the Citizens’ Movement. In Slovakia, the People’s Party against Violence was divided into two hostile voting groups, the most important of which is the Movement for one Slovakia.
The reforms introduced by the new government did not immediately succeed. In March 1991, the unemployment rate reached 185,000 and it was estimated that by the end of the year it would exceed half a million.