Landlocked country in E central Europe, bounded N by Poland, NW and W by Germany, S by Austria, and E by the Slovak Republic.
The 1992 constitution, which came into force 1 Jan 1993, provides for a two-chamber parliament, comprising a 200-member chamber of deputies and an 81-member senate, elected for four-year and six-year terms respectively, by universal adult suffrage. The president is head of state, elected for a five-year term by a joint session of the parliament, and is eligible for a second consecutive term. The president appoints the prime minister. There are eight regions, subdivided into municipalities.
For early history, see Czechoslovakia. From the early 1990s there was evidence of increasing Czech and Slovak separatism in Czechoslovakia. In the 1992 assembly elections the Slovak-based Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (MDS), led by Vladimir Meciar, won the largest number of seats. President Václav Havel resigned, and in Aug, after proposals for a federal style of government were rejected, the creation of separate Czech and Slovak states was agreed. The Czech Republic came into being 1 Jan 1993, with Václav Klaus of the Civic Democratic Party as premier. Havel was elected president, completing the “velvet divorce”.
In June 1993 the new republic was admitted into the United Nations and was formally invited to apply for European Community membership. In the same month a new currency was introduced, and a major realignment of political parties took place. In Jan 1994 the Czech Republic joined NATO’s “partnership for peace” program as a prelude to full membership in the alliance.