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Václav Klaus

Václav Klaus (born 19 June, 1941) is the second President of the Czech Republic, former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Professor of Finance at the Prague School of Economics.

Klaus studied at the Prague School of Economics; after his graduation in 1963 he carried on in Italy and the USA.

He was employed in Institute of Economics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czechoslovak State Bank and finally in Forecasting Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences during the 1970s and the 1980s.

Václav Klaus entered politics soon after The Velvet Revolution in 1989. As a member (and afterwards the chairman) of Civic Forum he became the Federal Minister of Finance.

In April 1991 Klaus co-found the Civic Democrats, a right-wing party, which was the most popular czech political party of the first half of the 1990s, and that was led by him until autumn of 2002.

Klaus became the Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia in 1992; after the division of Czechoslovakia in 1993 he remained in his post as a Prime Minister of the Czech Republic until 1997. His enthusiasm for the free market economy was well known and even often critized.

The Civic Democrats lost the parliamentary elections in 1998 and Milos Zeman, chairman of left-wing Social Democrats, succeeded Klaus in his position.

After more than 5 years spent in opposition, Klaus was appointed President of the Czech Republic on 28th February, 2003; he succeeded Václav Havel, who has been one of his greatest political opponents since the division of Czechoslovakia. The result of the presidential election was surprising for many.

Václav Klaus has still many objectors; usually they criticized him for his alleged arrogance. Despite this opinion, his backers claims that Klaus is one of the best sophisticated Czech politicians of recent decades.

His popularity grew rapidly in the first half of 2003, presumably because of his disagreement with the 2003 invasion of Iraq and his incredulous opinions on the process of european integration.