Václav Klaus

Václav Klaus
2nd President of the Czech Republic
In office
7 March 2003  7 March 2013
Prime Minister Vladimír Špidla
Stanislav Gross
Jiří Paroubek
Mirek Topolánek
Jan Fischer
Petr Nečas
Preceded by Václav Havel
Succeeded by Miloš Zeman
1st Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
In office
1 January 1993  2 January 1998
President Václav Havel
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Josef Tošovský
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
17 July 1998  20 June 2002
President Václav Havel
Preceded by Miloš Zeman
Succeeded by Lubomír Zaorálek
Leader of the Civic Democratic Party
In office
21 April 1991  15 December 2002
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Mirek Topolánek
2nd Prime Minister of the Czech Republic (Federal part)
In office
2 July 1992  1 January 1993
President Václav Havel
Preceded by Petr Pithart
Succeeded by Position abolished
Member of Parliament for Prague
In office
7 June 1990  7 March 2003
Minister of Finance of Czechoslovakia
In office
10 December 1989  2 July 1992
Prime Minister Marián Čalfa
Preceded by Jan Stejskal
Succeeded by Jan Klak
Personal details
Born (1941-06-19) 19 June 1941
Prague, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
(now Czech Republic)
Political party OF (1989–1990)
ODS (1990–2009)
Independent (2009–present)
Spouse(s) Livia Mištinová (1968–present)
Children Václav
Alma mater University of Economics, Prague
Religion Hussite[1]
Website Official website

Václav Klaus (Czech pronunciation: [ˈvaːtslaf ˈklaus]; born 19 June 1941) is a Czech economist and politician who served as the second President of the Czech Republic from 2003 to 2013. He also served as the second and last Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, federal subject of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, from July 1992 until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in January 1993, and as the first Prime Minister of an independent Czech Republic from 1993 to 1998.

Klaus was the principal co-founder of the Civic Democratic Party, a Czech Eurosceptic political party.[2][3] His presidency was marked by numerous controversies over his strong views on a number of issues, from global warming denial to euroscepticism,[4] and a wide-ranging amnesty declared in his last months of office, triggering his indictment by the Czech Senate on charges of high treason.

After his presidency ended in 2013, Klaus was named a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.[5] His appointment was terminated in September 2014, due to his views on the Ukrainian crisis, his hostility to homosexuality, and support of European far right parties.[6]

Early life

Klaus was born in Prague during the Nazi occupation, and grew up in the large (up to 1948 middle-class) Vinohrady neighborhood. According to his own words, at the age of 4 Klaus took part in building barricades during Prague uprising in May 1945.[7]

Klaus studied what was then called "economics of foreign trade" and graduated from the University of Economics, Prague in 1963. He also spent some time at universities in Italy (1966) and at Cornell University in the United States in 1969. He then pursued a postgraduate academic career at the State Institute of Economics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, which, according to his autobiography, he was forced to leave in 1970.

However, he soon obtained a position in the Czechoslovak State Bank, where he held various staff positions from 1971 to 1986 and worked abroad, in several Soviet-aligned countries. This might have been a small privilege at that time.[8] In 1987, Klaus joined the Institute for Prognostics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.

Rise to premiership

Klaus entered Czechoslovak politics during the Velvet Revolution in 1989, during the second week of the political uprising, when he offered his co-operation as an economic advisor to the Civic Forum, whose purpose was to unify the anti-authoritarian forces in Czechoslovakia and to overthrow the Communist regime. Klaus became Czechoslovakia's Minister of Finance in the "government of national unity" on 10 December 1989.

In October 1990, Klaus was elected chairman of the Civic Forum. Two months later, he led most of the stronger supporters of a free-market economy into the Civic Democratic Party (ODS). Largely due to the following period of successful economic growth, Klaus led the ODS to victory in the Czech Republic election of June 5–6, 1992. The ODS won a strong majority government with 76 seats, making Klaus the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Czech Republic.

The ODS made a strong showing in the federal election held the same day, taking 48 seats to become the largest party, double the total of the runners-up, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). Klaus was seemingly on the way to become the first federal prime minister in 47 years with no past ties to Communism. However, since the HZDS was by far the largest Slovak-based party, Klaus would have needed the HZDS' support to form a government. When he began coalition talks with HZDS leader Vladimir Meciar, Klaus told Meciar that unless the HZDS was willing to agree to a tighter federation, the only sensible option was for the Czechs and Slovaks to go their separate ways. Meciar was unwilling to agree to this, and on 23 July the two leaders agreed to dissolve Czechoslovakia as of New Year's Day 1993.

Klaus led the ODS to victory in the 1996 election, though he lost his outright majority.

Resignation as Prime Minister

Towards the end of 1997, Klaus was forced to step down as Prime Minister by several opponents in his party in connection with accusations of funding irregularities in the ODS.[9]

In this time, Czech President Václav Havel heavily criticized Klaus' policy of voucher privatization of previously state-owned enterprises. This policy was designed as a cornerstone for a speedy transition from command economy to free-market economy. However, Havel blamed the voucher privatization as a reason for current economic difficulties.

Leader of the ODS

At a congress in late 1997, Klaus was confirmed as chairman of the ODS by 227 out of 312 votes. The defeated faction within the ODS subsequently left the party, and in early 1998 they established a new party named Freedom Union (Unie svobody, US), with President Havel's sympathies.

The ODS finished second in the early elections in 1998 to the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD). Either party could have formed a majority with the support of other parties. However, Freedom Union chairman Jan Ruml, despite his animosity to Klaus, refused to support the Social Democrats. Subsequently, Klaus negotiated an "Opposition Agreement" (opoziční smlouva) with ČSSD chairman Miloš Zeman, his long-time political adversary, though both also had much mutual respect. During the following legislative period, the ODS tolerated Zeman's minority government in exchange for a share in the control of Parliament positions, including the post of the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies for Klaus himself.[10] The Opposition Agreement led to some public demonstrations, particularly against an attempt to regulate the Czech Television. This, in turn, caused Zeman to announce that he would not stand again for the post of Prime Minister.

ODS went to the elections of June 2002 relying on Klaus' image. This time, however, ODS was again defeated by the ČSSD under their new leader Vladimír Špidla, who previously rejected the Opposition Agreement. Eventually, Špidla created a left-center coalition. After a long hesitation and eventhough his party won in October 2002 Senate elections, Klaus did not run for re-election as party chairman at the December ODS congress. However, he became Honorary chairman of the party.[11] Against his declared wish, Klaus was succeeded by Mirek Topolánek as the new party leader.[12]


Standard of the President of the Czech Republic
For more details on election procedure and strategies, see President of the Czech Republic § Electoral procedure.

Having lost two general elections in a row, Klaus's hold on the ODS appeared to become weaker, and he announced his intention to step down from the leadership and run for President to succeed Václav Havel, who had been one of his greatest political opponents. However, the governing coalition, buffeted especially by feuds within ČSSD, was unable to agree on a common candidate to oppose him.

Klaus was elected President of the Czech Republic by secret ballot on joint session of the Parliament on 28 February 2003 after two failed elections earlier in the month, in the third round of the 2003 presidential election (both chambers vote on two top candidates jointly). He won with a majority of 142 votes out of 281. It was widely reported that Klaus won because of the support of Communist Members of Parliament, support which his opponent, Jan Sokol, publicly refused to accept. Klaus denied the charge that he owed the Communists any debt for his election.[13]

Use of vetos

Although Klaus regularly criticized Václav Havel for having used his powers to veto a number of laws, and promised restraint, he exercised his veto more frequently than Havel.[14] He vetoed the Anti-Discrimination Law passed by parliament in 2008, characterizing it as a dangerous threat to personal freedoms. He also used his right to veto the bill implementing EU's Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals policy claiming it to be a burden for private enterprises.

Eurosceptic beliefs

Klaus' euroscepticism and possibly also his scepticism about impacts of human activities on climate change are the cornerstones of his policy as President. He claimed that accession to the Union represented a significant reduction of Czech sovereignty and he chose not to give any recommendation before the 2003 accession referendum (77% voted yes).

Klaus' eurosceptic activism has manifested itself in his articles and numerous speeches, in which he warned against the gradual loss of sovereignty in favour of the EU. He promoted the publication of a work by the Irish Eurosceptic Anthony Coughlan. In 2005 Klaus called for the EU to be "scrapped" and replaced by a free trade area to be called the "Organisation of European States." He also attacked the EU as an institution which undermines freedom, calling the EU "as big a threat to freedom as the Soviet Union was".

Also in 2005 he remarked to a group of visiting U.S. politicians that the EU was a "failed and bankrupt entity."

Václav Klaus with Boris Tadić during his state visit to Serbia in 2008.

In November 2008 during his stay in Ireland after a state visit, Klaus held a joint press conference with Declan Ganley, head of Libertas, which at that time successfully campaigned for a "no" vote in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Members of Irish government called this "an inappropriate intervention", "unusual and disappointing".[15]

European Parliament

On 5 December 2008, members of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament visited the Czech Republic prior to the start of the Czech presidency of the European Union. They were invited by Václav Klaus to meet him at Prague Castle. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, chairman of Green Group, brought a European flag and presented it to Klaus.[16] Cohn-Bendit also said that he "did not care about Klaus' opinions on the Lisbon Treaty, that Klaus would simply have to sign it". This was negatively commented in the Czech Republic as an undue interference in Czech affairs. Co-president of the Independence/Democracy parliamentary group, Nigel Farage, compared Cohn-Bendit's actions to a "German official from seventy years ago or a Soviet official from twenty years ago.[17]

Further, then Irish MEP Brian Crowley told Klaus that the Irish people wanted ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon and were "insulted" by Klaus' association with Declan Ganley and Libertas. Klaus responded that "the biggest insult to the Irish people is not to accept the results of the Irish referendum".[18] Crowley replied, "You will not tell me what the Irish think. As an Irishman, I know it best."[18] In the UK the confrontative atmosphere of this meeting was criticized by some of the media: "This bizarre confrontation ... confirms the inability of the Euro-elite to accept that anyone holds views different from their own."[16]

On 19 February 2009, Klaus made a speech to the European Parliament where he criticized the European Union's lack of democracy, continuing integration and economic policies:

The present decision-making system of the European Union is different from a classic parliamentary democracy, tested and proven by history. In a normal parliamentary system, part of the MPs support the government and part support the opposition. In the European Parliament, this arrangement has been missing. Here, only one single alternative is being promoted, and those who dare think about a different option are labelled as enemies of European integration... There is also a great distance (not only in a geographical sense) between citizens and Union representatives, which is much greater than is the case inside the member countries. This distance is often described as the democratic deficit, the loss of democratic accountability, the decision-making of the unelected – but selected – ones, as bureaucratisation of decision-making etc. The proposals to change the current state of affairs – included in the rejected European Constitution or in the not much different Lisbon Treaty – would make this defect even worse. Since there is no European demos – and no European nation – this defect cannot be solved by strengthening the role of the European Parliament, either.[19][20]

After this point was made, a number of MEPs walked out of the chamber.[21][22] Klaus continued to state:

I fear that the attempts to speed up and deepen integration and to move decisions about the lives of the citizens of the member countries up to the European level can have effects that will endanger all the positive things achieved in Europe in the last half a century... Let us not allow a situation where the citizens of member countries would live their lives with a resigned feeling that the EU project is not their own; that it is developing differently than they would wish, that they are only forced to accept it. We would very easily and very soon slip back to the times that we hoped belonged to history... We must say openly that the present economic system of the EU is a system of a suppressed market, a system of a permanently strengthening centrally controlled economy. Although history has more than clearly proven that this is a dead end, we find ourselves walking the same path once again.[19][20]


Klaus is a long-term opponent of centrally implemented economic policies in the EU and of the euro as common currency of the eurozone countries. During the observance of the 10th anniversary of the euro in 2008 he expressed his beliefs in a Financial Times article:

If Europe does not wake up, it will face hard times. A common monetary policy will not help. Member countries already react differently to the appreciation of the euro against the dollar, the rising cost of energy, food or raw materials, and Asian competition. . . . In practice, the existence of euro has shown that forcing an economically disparate Europe into a homogeneous entity through a political decision is political engineering par excellence, far from beneficial for all countries concerned.[23]

Signing the Lisbon treaty

Klaus long refused to sign the Treaty of Lisbon, being the last head of state in the EU to provide a signature. Other European leaders ignored his reluctance, making it clear that they would not consent to be "held hostage" by the Czech President.[24] Czech Prime Minister of that time Jan Fischer, however, was confident that Klaus would eventually sign the Lisbon treaty, saying: "There is no reason for anxiety in Europe. The question is not Yes or No, it is only when."[25]

As early as in November 2008 Klaus said in an interview with the Czech Television:

I can only repeat aloud one of my verdicts. If indeed all agree that the Lisbon Treaty is a 'golden nut' for Europe that must be, and that there is only one single person who would block it, and that person is the Czech president, so this is what I will not do. This is all.[26]

Václav Klaus signed Lisbon treaty on 3 November 2009, with protest against decision of Constitutional court of Czech republic.[27] However he never signed addition to Lisbon Treaty, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). So did his follower in the president office, Miloš Zeman.[28]

Russian oil and gas supplies

Vaclav Klaus and President Putin.

On some issues like energy policy, Klaus has sought cooperation with Russia.[8][29]

In the 1990s, Klaus promoted renewed oil and gas agreements between the Czech Republic and Russia. He was at that time, for economic reasons, reluctant to seek other energy sources.[29] He was rather negative towards the construction of a pipeline between the Czech Republic and Germany. According to former Czech secret service directors, he was allegedly warned by the secret service of Russian organized crime spreading in the Czech economy. In one scheme, oil was imported to the Czech Republic as heating oil and re-sold as diesel, which created huge profits for Russian entrepreneur Semion Mogilevich.[8]

Later, Klaus was characterized by The Economist as one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "warmest admirers abroad".[30] Furthermore, Klaus obtained the 2007 Pushkin Medal for the promotion of Russian culture from President Putin. It was suggested that this was due to his use of Russian language in conversations with Putin and Russian diplomats.[31][32][33] According to Klaus, as far as Russia is concerned there have been "challenges and successes, tremendous successes".[34]

Otherwise, in a May 2009 interview[35] for Lidové noviny, Klaus said Russia was not a threat but still a big, strong and ambitious country, of which the Czech authorities should beware more than the likes of Estonia and Lithuania should.[36]


Klaus criticised NATO bombings of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo crisis.[29] Afterwards, he voiced many times his disagreement with the unilateral Kosovo declaration of independence. During his visit to Slovakia in March 2008, a country that together with Spain, Romania, Greece and Cyprus has not recognized the independence of Kosovo, Klaus categorically rejected the argument that Kosovo was a special case. He stated that a precedent was set, as those who have recognized Kosovo opened a Pandora's box in Europe. According to Klaus this could lead to disastrous consequences, and he compared the situation of Serbia to the 1938 Munich treaty.[37][38] When Serbia recalled its ambassador in protest of the Czech government's recognition of Kosovo, the Serbian ambassador was invited to the Prague Castle for a friendly farewell.[39] During his visit to Serbia in January 2011, Klaus stated that as long as he was President the Czech Republic would not appoint an ambassador to Kosovo.[40]


The Czech Presidential election of 2008 differed from past ones in that the voting was on the record, rather than by secret ballot. This was a precondition demanded by several Czech political parties after the last experience, but long opposed by Klaus' Civic Democratic Party[41] which had strengthened since 2003, already had the safe majority in the Senate even by itself and needed only to secure a few votes in the House for the third round.

Klaus' opponent was the former émigré, naturalized United States citizen and University of Michigan economics professor Jan Švejnar.[42] He was nominated by the Green Party as a pro-EU moderate candidate. He gained the support of the leading opposition Social Democratic Party, a small number of deputies and senators of the KDU-ČSL and some independent Senators. The first ballot on 8–9 February 2008 resulted in no winner. Švejnar won the Chamber of Deputies, but Klaus led in the assembly as a whole and barely failed to achieve the requisite majority.[41]

The second ballot on 15 February 2008 brought a new candidate MEP Jana Bobošíková, nominated by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia. However, not drawing any wider support, she withdrew her candidacy before the election itself.[42] The first and second rounds ended similarly to the previous weekend. However, Klaus consistently had 141 votes. Thus in the third round, where the only goal is to achieve a majority of all legislators present from both houses, Klaus won by the smallest possible margin. Švejnar received 111 votes, the 29 Communists voting for neither.[43]

Klaus's first term as President concluded on 7 March 2008; he took oath for the second term on the same day so as not to create a president-less interregnum since the Parliament could not otherwise come to a joint session before the following Tuesday. Thus, he lost the day of overlap and his second term had to end on 6 March 2013.

2013 Amnesty and charges of alleged treason

On 1 January 2013, using his constitutional rights, Klaus announced an amnesty to mark the 20th anniversary of the Czech Republic's independence. The amnesty took effect on 2 January and released all prisoners sentenced to one year or less whose sentences had not been served, and all prisoners over 75 years of age sentenced to ten years or less whose sentences had not been served, as well as cancelling all court proceedings which had been ongoing for longer than eight years.[44] As of 11 January 6318 prisoners have been released due to the amnesty; others may yet be released depending on the outcome of court appeals.[45]

The large extent of this amnesty has been widely criticized in the Czech Republic, with the opposition demanding a vote of no confidence to be held against Prime Minister Petr Nečas, who countersigned it.[46] Meanwhile, a comparison was drawn with similar actions by Klaus's predecessor, Václav Havel, who dispensed three amnesties while Czechoslovak and later Czech president (1989–2003). Havel's first amnesty of January 1990 was the largest post-war one. Some 23,000 people, or two thirds of then 31,000 prisoners in then 15 million Czechoslovakia, were released from prison on the grounds that they had been convicted by a communist court system.[44]

The amnesty sparked a public petition to persuade the Senate of the Czech Republic to charge President Klaus with high treason[47] before the Constitutional court, effectively impeaching him.[48] As of the beginning of February 2013, the petition was signed by more than 64,000 people. During the first 24 hours after its launch, it accumulated 24,500 signatures.[49] On 4 March 2013, the Senate voted to charge Klaus with high treason, based on five cases in which he was alleged to have violated the constitution, including the amnesty, his refusal to sign the European stability mechanism and his alleged procrastination in nominating judges to the Constitutional Court. The following day, on 5 March, the Constitutional Court rejected a previous motion by a smaller group of senators to cancel the New Year amnesty. Thus, the issue of the amnesty from the constitutional suit is already legally refuted.[50] In view of the fact that the only sanction for treason committed by the Czech head of state is the loss of office, the court’s verdict will be a mere formality.[51] A guilty verdict would make Klaus ineligible for a third term of office in 2018.[52] Klaus himself has called the move an attempt by his political opponents to tarnish his presidency.

Criticism of the scientific consensus on climate change

Václav Klaus 2009

Klaus is a strong critic of the scientific consensus that global warming is anthropogenic. He has also called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change a group of politicized scientists with one-sided opinions and one-sided assignments. He has said that some other top-level politicians do not expose their doubts about global warming being anthropogenic because "a whip of political correctness strangles their voices."[53]

In addition he says, "Environmentalism should belong in the social sciences" along with other "isms" such as communism, feminism, and liberalism. Klaus said that "environmentalism is a religion" and, answering questions of U.S. Congressmen, a "modern counterpart of communism" that seeks to change peoples' habits and economic systems.[54]

In a June 2007 Financial Times article, Klaus called ambitious environmentalism "the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, market economy and prosperity". He hinted at present political and scientific debates on environment issues as a design to suppress freedom and democracy, and asked the readers to oppose the term "scientific consensus", adding that "it is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority".[55] In an online Q&A session following the article he wrote "Environmentalism, not preservation of nature (and of environment), is a leftist ideology... Environmentalism is indeed a vehicle for bringing us socialist government at the global level. Again, my life in communism has made me oversensitive in this respect."[56] He reiterated these statements at a showing of Martin Durkin's The Great Global Warming Swindle organised by his think tank CEP in June 2007.[57]

In November 2007 BBC World's Hardtalk Klaus called the interviewer "absolutely arrogant" for claiming that a scientific consensus embracing the bulk of the world had been reached on climate change. He added that he was "absolutely certain" that in 30 years people would look back and express their thanks to him for his stands.[58]

At a September 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Klaus spoke of his disbelief in global warming, calling for a second IPCC to be set up to produce competing reports, and for countries to be left alone to set their priorities and prepare their own plans for the problem.[59]

In 2007, Klaus published a book titled Modrá, nikoli zelená planeta (literally "Blue planet – not green"). The book has been translated from the Czech into various languages.[60] The title in English, which is not a direct translation, is "Blue Planet in Green Shackles". It claims that "The theory of global warming and the hypothesis on its causes, which has spread around massively nowadays, may be a bad theory, it may also be a valueless theory, but in any case it is a very dangerous theory."

At the September 2009 UN Climate Change Conference, Klaus again voiced his disapproval, calling the gathering "propagandistic" and "undignified."[61]

On 26 July 2011 at the National Press Club Address, Klaus pronounced himself again against global warming calling it "a communist conspiracy".[62]

On 21 May 2012 Klaus addressed the climate sceptic Heartland Institute’s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-7).[63]

In August 2012 he delivered the Magistral Lecture to the World Federation of Scientists in Erice, Sicily.[64]

Other activities

In 1995, as Prime Minister, Klaus was awarded the title of Professor of Finance from his alma mater, so he is sometimes addressed as "Mr. Professor" as is customary in the Czech Republic. Since that time Klaus occasionally teaches seminars in economics at the University of Economics. He focuses on his free-market opinions.

His defining issue as economist since 1990 has been his enthusiasm for the free market economy as exemplified by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.[65] According to Klaus, legislation and institutions cannot be created before economic transformation, they have to go hand in hand.[66]

Since 1990, Václav Klaus has received nearly 50 honorary degrees, among them one from Universidad Francisco Marroquín,[67] and published more than 20 books on various social, political, and economic topics. Klaus is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society. He published articles in the libertarian Cato Journal. On 28 May 2008, Klaus gave the keynote address at an annual dinner hosted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market advocacy group in Washington, D.C., and received its Julian L. Simon Memorial Award.

Klaus was also elected to become a foreign member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2009.[68]

Václav Klaus visiting ESO's Paranal Observatory, Chile.

In April 2011, Klaus was seen taking a pen during a state visit to Chile.[69] The alleged theft, caught on television cameras, was widely reported around the world and has been dubbed an "international event"[70] causing a "diplomatic stir".[71] According to Klaus, the event was exaggerated, because official pens are normally free to be taken by official visitors and this one was not an exception.[72]

Australian Parliament House incident

In July 2011, President Klaus visited Canberra, the national capital of Australia. Klaus's visit to Australia was sponsored by the conservative Australian think tank, the Centre for Independent Studies, and so was not afforded the diplomatic protocol of an official visit. During his stay in Canberra Klaus was invited to an interview to be conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in their Parliament House studios. At Parliament Klaus was requested to undergo standard security clearance, ABC staff tried to convince security staff to allow the President to bypass security but they declined the request, and so Klaus left the building.[73] Klaus commented that it was not an issue of his passing through the electronic security system, but rather of the treatment of his person by the officials. First, when he and his entourage arrived on time, nobody was expecting him. After waiting for ten minutes in front of the building, a worker of the ABC Television invited him in, where he was left "among perhaps as many as hundred school children". After another few minutes he found out that the whole group was waiting for a security clearance. Klaus refused to waste more time waiting in line behind the school children and offered ABC Television to conduct the interview in his hotel. This offer was declined by ABC as they were already set up for the interview in the Parliament House studio.[73][74] Klaus' approach was further backed up by the head of protocol in the Office of the Czech President, Jindřich Forejt, who described the whole incident as "incredible." Former speaker of President Václav Havel, Ladislav Špaček,[75] commented that "it is absolutely out of place to check a head of state; it is disrespectful. I am not at all surprised that Klaus turned around and went off. He should not be there trying to argue with some operative that he is not a terrorist."[76]

Airsoft gun assault

On 28 September 2012, Klaus was attacked during a bridge opening ceremony in Chrastava.[77] While Klaus was walking through a thick crowd, shaking hands and chatting with bystanders, a 26-year-old man named Pavel Vondrouš came near, pressed an airsoft pistol against the President's right arm and pulled the trigger seven times before disappearing into the crowd. Klaus was taken to Prague's Střešovice hospital with what was described as "minor bruising", treated and immediately discharged. The attacker, a supporter of the Communist Party,[78] was detained after several minutes, but later released. Before he was preliminarily taken into custody, he had even managed to comment to journalists that he "had done it because politicians were blind and deaf to the people's despair." Vondrouš received a suspended sentence in June 2013 for his role in the event.[79]

The lack of action from the President's bodyguards was heavily criticised. The head of the President's security resigned after the incident.

Resignation as honorary ODS chairman

Václav Klaus resigned as honorary ODS chairman on 6 December 2008.[80] On the following day, the Mayor of Prague and friend of Klaus, Pavel Bém, stood against Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek for the post of ODS chairman at the ODS party congress.[80] Bém lost by 284 votes to 162,[80] and was replaced as first deputy chairman of ODS by David Vodrážka.[80]

Statements about Ukraine

On 9 September 2014 in interview to the Czech radio "Radio Impulse", Václav Klaus stated that Ukraine is an artificially created state and that the Russian intervention in the country was part of a civil war.[81] In his opinion, "Maidan" was an artificial event created by the West and the United States and Russia was forced to intervene.[81] Klaus also said that Ukraine lacks strong ties to keep country together.[81]

Personal life

Václav Klaus is married to Livia Klausová, who is a Slovak by origin and an economist. They have two sons, Václav (a private secondary school headmaster) and Jan (an economist), and five grandchildren.[2]

It has been claimed that Klaus had several extramarital affairs. The extramarital affairs, if they have occurred, had no lasting impact on his married life.

The first alleged relationship might have been in 1991 with 29-year-old flight attendant Eva Svobodová.[82] In summer 2002, Klaus was photographed by a tabloid as having a "special relationship" with 24-year-old economics student Klára Lohniská.[83]

In March 2008, Novinky.cz, citing a tabloid, claimed that Klaus spent the night after his second presidential inauguration (7 March 2008) with 25-year-old flight attendant Petra Bednářová.[84] A tabloid reported in August 2011 that the affair of Klaus with Bednářová was continuing.[85] In July 2013, Klaus and Bednářová (now referred to as his mistress) were reported to be still together.[86]

State Awards

Country Awards[87]Date
 SlovakiaOrder of the White Double Cross March 2013
 AustriaGrand Star of the Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria May 2009[88]
 LithuaniaGrand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great April 2009[89]
 PolandOrder of the White Eagle July 2007
 RussiaMedal of Pushkin December 2007
 SaxonySaxon Merit Cross May 2008
 SpainKnight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic September 2004
 Czech RepublicKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the White Lion 7 March 2003 – 7 March 2013 (ex officio)
 Czech RepublicKnight Grand Cross of the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk 7 March 2003 – 7 March 2013 (ex officio)

See also


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  2. 1 2 "Curriculum Vitae of Vaclav Klaus". Office of the President of the Republic. 5 March 2003. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
  3. Klaus, Václav (6 May 2006). "The Threats to Liberty in the 21st century". Foundation for Economic Education. Archived from the original on 27 June 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
  4. Richter, Jan (7 March 2013). "A decade with President Václav Klaus". Radio Prague.
  5. "Václav Klaus". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  6. "Vaclav Klaus, Libertarian Hero, Has His Wings Clipped by Cato Institute". Daily Beast. Retrieved 2014-12-22.
  7. "Klaus vzpomínal na Pražské povstání: Jako čtyřletý jsem stavěl barikády". lidovky.cz (in Czech). 5 May 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  8. 1 2 3 "Vaclav Klaus – a wrong man for all reasons". Business News Europe. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  9. Richter, Jan (7 February 2008). "Václav Klaus: the experienced and predictable". Radio Prague. Retrieved 9 July 2008.
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Political offices
Preceded by
Petr Pithart
Prime Minister of the Czech Socialist Republic
Position abolished
New office Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
Succeeded by
Josef Tošovský
Preceded by
Miloš Zeman
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies
Succeeded by
Lubomír Zaorálek
Preceded by
Václav Havel
President of the Czech Republic
Succeeded by
Miloš Zeman
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