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At the close of World War I, the Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar years, having rejected a federal system, the new country's leaders were frequently preoccupied with meeting the demands of other ethnic minorities within the republic, most notably the Sudeten Germans and the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). On the eve of World War II, the Czech part of the country was forcibly annexed to the Third Reich, and the Slovaks declared independence as an ally of Nazi Germany. After the war, a reunited but truncated Czechoslovakia (less Ruthenia) fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize Communist Party rule and create "socialism with a human face." Anti-Soviet demonstrations the following year ushered in a period of harsh repression known as "normalization." With the collapse of Soviet-backed authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its democracy through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution." On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form Czech Republic
Conventional short form Czech Republic
Local long form Ceska Republika
Local short form Cesko

Government type
Parliamentary democracy

Capital
Name Prague
Geographic coordinates 50 05 N, 14 28 E
Time difference
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions
13 regions (kraje, singular - kraj) and 1 capital city* (hlavni mesto); Jihocesky (South Bohemia), Jihomoravsky (South Moravia), Karlovarsky, Kralovehradecky, Liberecky, Moravskoslezsky (Moravia-Silesia), Olomoucky, Pardubicky, Plzensky (Pilsen), Praha (Prague)*, Stredocesky (Central Bohemia), Ustecky, Vysocina, Zlinsky

Independence
1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia); note - although 1 January is the day the Czech Republic came into being, the Czechs generally consider 28 October 1918, the day the former Czechoslovakia declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as their independence day

National holiday
Czechoslovak Founding Day, 28 October (1918)

Constitution
Ratified 16 December 1992, effective 1 January 1993; amended several times

Legal system
Civil law system based on former Austro-Hungarian civil codes and socialist theory; note - Czech parliament has modernized many elements of legal system

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Vaclav KLAUS (since 7 March 2003)
Head of government
Prime Minister Petr NECAS (since 28 June 2010); First Deputy Prime Minister Karel SCHWARZENBERG (since 13 July 2010), Deputy Prime Minister Karolina PEAKE (since 1 July 2011)
Cabinet
Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
Elections
President elected by Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last successful election held on 15 February 2008 (after inconclusive elections held 8 and 9 February 2008; next election to be held in 2013); prime minister appointed by the president
Election results
Vaclav KLAUS reelected president on 15 February 2008; Vaclav KLAUS 141 votes, Jan SVEJNAR 111 votes (third round; combined votes of both chambers of parliament)

Legislative branch
Bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Senate or Senat (81 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Poslanecka Snemovna (200 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections
Senate - last held in two rounds on 15-16 and 22-23 October 2010 (next to be held by October 2012); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 28-29 May 2010 (next to be held by 2014)
Election results
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CSSD 41, ODS 25, KDU-CSL 6, TOP 09 5, others 4; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - CSSD 22.1%, ODS 20.2%, TOP 09 16.7%, KSCM 11.3%, VV 10.9%, other 18.8%; seats by party - CSSD 54, ODS 52, TOP 09 41, KSCM 26, VV 21, unaffiliated 6

Judicial branch
Supreme Court; judges are appointed by the president for an unlimited term; Constitutional Court; 15 judges are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for a 10-year term; Supreme Administrative Court; chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for a 10-year term; judges are appointed by the president for an unlimited term

Political parties and leaders
Association of Independent Candidates-European Democrats or SNK-ED [Zdenka MARKOVA]; Christian Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party or KDU-CSL [Pavel BELOBRADEK]; Civic Democratic Party or ODS [Petr NECAS]; Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia or KSCM [Vojtech FILIP]; Czech Social Democratic Party or CSSD [Bohuslav SOBOTKA]; Green Party [Ondrej LISKA]; Public Affairs or VV [Radek JOHN]; Tradice Odpovednost Prosperita 09 or TOP 09 [Karel SCHWARZENBERG]

Political pressure groups and leaders
Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions or CMKOS [Jaroslav ZAVADIL]

International organization participation
Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CD, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Petr GANDALOVIC
Chancery
3900 Spring of Freedom Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone [1] (202) 274-9100
FAX [1] (202) 966-8540
Consulate(s) general Chicago, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Norman EISEN
Embassy Trziste 15, 118 01 Prague 1
Mailing address Use embassy street address
Telephone [420] 257 022 000
FAX [420] 257 022 809

Flag description
Two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side
Note
Is identical to the flag of the former Czechoslovakia

National symbol(s)
Double-tailed lion

National anthem
Name
"Kde domov muj?" (Where is My Home?)
Lyrics/music
Josef Kajetan TYL/Frantisek Jan SKROUP
Note
Adopted 1993; the anthem is a verse from the former Czechoslovak anthem originally written as part of the opera "Fidlovacka"


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