Miloš Zeman

Zeman in 2017 Miloš Zeman (; born 28 September 1944) is a Czech politician serving as the third and current President of the Czech Republic since 2013. He previously served as the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from 1998 to 2002. As leader of the Czech Social Democratic Party during the 1990s, he is credited with the revival of the party into one of the country's major political forces. Zeman briefly served as the President of the Chamber of Deputies from 1996 to 1998.

Born in Kolín to a modest family, Zeman joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1968, but was expelled two years later due to his opposition to the Warsaw Pact invasion. Following the Velvet Revolution in 1989, he joined the Czech Social Democratic Party, which he led into the successful 1996 election.

Zeman became Prime Minister following the 1998 legislative election after striking a controversial pact with his long-time rival Václav Klaus. The pact became known as the Opposition agreement and was heavily criticized by President Václav Havel, the media and politicians for weakening the parliamentary opposition. His government continued with privatization of publicly owned Czech industries and established new administrative regions. It also attempted to change the electoral system to first-past-the-post voting, which was struck down by the Constitutional Court as unconstitutional. Under his leadership, the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999. Zeman was the last leader to vote in favor of the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, effectively green-lighting the operation. He ran for president in 2003 but was eliminated after his own party members did not vote for him.

In January 2013, Zeman was elected President of the Czech Republic, a mostly ceremonial figurehead of the parliamentary republic. He is the first directly elected president in Czech history; both of his predecessors, Václav Havel and Václav Klaus, were elected by the Czech Parliament. In 2018, he was re-elected for a second term. During his tenure, Radio Free Europe has described him as "one of the European Union's most Kremlin-friendly leaders" due to his pro-Russian stance. Provided by Wikipedia
by Zeman, Miloš, 1944-
Published 1985