Final Word from Thursday, April 15, 2004

Václav Havel remains a hot commodity internationally, but in the CR his political influence has nearly disappeared. When historians look back to try to establish the end of the Havel era, it probably won't be the moment his final term ended as president. Indeed, his influence on domestic politics continued beyond this point. Instead, the decisive moment was likely the day Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda was defeated by Miroslav Kalousek as chairman of KDU-ČSL. Svoboda, as we've noted before, was the most prominent Havel torchbearer. With the decline of Svoboda's own influence, the influence of the Havel political agenda has also waned. Kalousek's victory has also contributed to the disintegration of US-DEU, which had been Havel's other major support mechanism. Havel still has his followers, of course, but their role in Czech politics is marginal.


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