The Velvet Revolution and its consequences
On November 17, 1989, the regime led by the Communist Party harshly intervened against demonstrations organized by students on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the closure of Czech schools by the Nazis. People came out on the streets to protest the brutality of the intervention and organized demonstrations and strikes.
The communists relinquished political power during the Velvet Revolution. The regime had exhausted itself and didn’t have the strength to engage in a power struggle with the whole of society. Political parties were reinstated and the first free elections were held in 1990. Vaclav Havel, who had led the negotiations with the communist government, became president. Future political parties were established by people with the same opinions - the Czech Civic Forum (Občanské fórum) and Slovak Public Against Violence (Verejnosť proti násiliu).
The Czech and Slovak political representatives were unsuccessful in finding a suitable bilateral model for the coexistence of the Czech and Slovak nations. This resulted in the organized and orderly split of the joint state.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia have existed separately since January 1, 1993. Integration with the European community and European security structures became an objective of both states. Mutual relations were kept above-standard due to the immixture of citizens after almost 90 years of coexistence in one state.
The Czech Republic was accepted as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization March 12, 1999. The Czech Republic is now a formal member of NATO and the United Nations, and its units have participated in missions to Iraq, Croatia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and many other countries.
An affiliation agreement between the Czech Republic and the European Community was concluded October 4, 1993. This took effect February 1, 1995. The process of convergence with the European Community culminated with the Czech Republic becoming a member of the European Union, along with nine other states, May 1, 2004.
Currently, the Czech Republic is a fully democratic country with a stable political culture and growing economic power. The positive results of economic transformation and democratic administration are easily apparent: The increasing living standards of inhabitants are noticeable and are approaching the levels of some standards of the European Union.
In June 2006, parliamentary elections were held in the Czech Republic. The equal division of the lower house, or Chamber of Deputies, made it impossible to form a government.
Prime Minister and ODS Chairman Mirek Topolánek was twice asked to form a government.
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