Czech Republic. The Olympic gold in ice hockey - the
first in the Czech Republic - was the only gold-edged in
Czech existence during a year of problems and accidents. The
year must be labeled as the worst crisis year since the
Communist Empire collapsed in the early 1990s.
Countryaah, the crisis began in earnest in late 1997, when the
right-wing government under Václav Klaus was forced to
resign following a scandal involving illegal party support.
As an expedition minister, an expert government was
appointed with the former Governor of the Riksbank, the
partyless Josef Tos̆ovský as prime minister. In addition,
the Klaus Democratic Citizens' Party (ODS,
Obc̆anskáokratická strana) - the outbreakers in the new
right-wing party Freedom Union (US, Unie Svobody) burst the
former Interior Minister Jan Ruml as party leader.
It was with great need that President Václav Havel
succeeded in being re-elected by Parliament for a second
term in office. Among the doubts to choose if Havel heard
his faltering health and a marked decline in popularity.
During the year, Havel underwent several difficult
operations, so serious that his life was considered to be in
danger. Havel's long convalescences and a marked decline in
popularity led to speculation as to who might be the new
The new parliamentary elections in June - ordinary
parliamentary elections would have been held in 2000 - did
not lead to the clear political boundaries many hoped for.
The earlier election resulted in a weak victory for the
Social Democrats (CSSD, C̆eská strana sociálnĕokratická).
New prime minister became Milos̆ Zeman, whose minority
government passed the vote of confidence following an
agreement with the largest opposition party, ODS, which cast
its votes. The government has only 74 of Parliament's 200
seats. A few months later, the ruling Social Democrats
suffered a major defeat in the Senate elections. Democracy
was also hit by an equally staggering defeat as only over
20% of voters voted.
The Czech economy has had major problems: declining
growth, high unemployment and increasing budget deficits.
The European Commission has criticized the Czech Republic
for its state subsidies and for committed crimes against the
Europe agreement entered into, among other things.
agriculture. Strong criticism was once again directed at the
country's ruthless civil rights laws and a series of racist
acts against the Roma.