Former President of the Czech Republic
Vaclav Klaus has been President of the Czech Republic from February 2003 till March 2013. He started his political career in December 1989, when he became Federal Minister of Finance. In late 1990, he became Chairman of what was then the strongest political entity in the country – Civic Forum. After its demise in April 1991, he co-founded the Civic Democratic Party, and was its Chairman from the outset until December 2002. He won the parliamentary elections with this party in 1992 and became the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. It was in this position that he took part in the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia and the foundation of an independent Czech Republic. In 1996, he successfully defended his position as Prime Minister in the elections to the Chamber of Deputies, but he resigned after the break-up of the government coalition in November 1997. After the early elections of 1998, he became the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies. He was elected as President of the Czech Republic in February 2003 and re-elected for his second five-year term in February 2008.
President Klaus studied at the Prague School of Economics (graduating in 1963), and economics became his lifelong specialty. He also studied in Italy (1966) and the US (1969). As a research worker at the Institute of Economics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, he completed a PhD in Economics in 1968. In 1970, he was forced to abandon his research career for political reasons and left to work for many years at the Czechoslovak State Bank. He returned to an academic post at the Forecasting Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in late 1987. In 1995, he was appointed Professor of Finance at the Prague School of Economics. He has published over 50 books on general social, political and economics subjects and he holds a number of international awards and honorary doctorates from universities all over the world.