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Havel elected president 20 years ago

Václav Havel was elected the president of Czechoslovakia exactly 20 years ago, on December 29th, 1989. This event marked the final victory of the Velvet Revolution even though the first free parliamentary elections confirming the end of communism had to wait for additional six months.

I pledge my loyalty to the Czechoslovak [sic] Socialist [oops] Republic...

Havel was elected unanimously even though the bulk of the Federal Assembly was still composed out of the old communist deputies and he was arrested as recently as a few months before his election by the very same guys. ;-) Well, many of them have experienced some pressure from the Civic Forum.

His rise was very exciting. As a typical great man of another era, he doesn't quite understand the issues that are important in the world today - with his past health problems and torture, it's quite amazing that he's still alive and doing pretty well today - but he will surely remain a top symbol of the fight for freedom and democracy in the previously socialist Europe.

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