|Chairman of the Federative Government of the Czecho-Slovak Republic
Předseda federativné vlády Československé republiky
Predseda federativne vlády Česko-Slovenskej republiky
Coat of Arms
|Term length||The Prime minister's term of office depends on support of the Federal Chanber of Deputies.|
|Inaugural holder||Karel Kramář|
|Formation||14 November 1918|
The Chairman of the Federal Government of Czechoslovakia (Czech: Předseda federativné vlády Československé republiky; Slovak: Predseda federativne vlády Česko-Slovenskej republiky), also known as Prime minister (Premiér) is the head of the Federal Government of Czechoslovakia.
The Prime Minister presides over a cabinet that is formally appointed by the President of Czechoslovakia. In practice, the appointment of the Prime Minister is determined by their support in the Federal Assembly's Chamber of Deputies. No single party has held a majority in the National and Federal Assemblies, so the Prime Minister must head a coalition of political parties, as well as their own party.
The current Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia is Robert Fico. He leads a government consisting of the Czechoslovak Social Democracy, Czechoslovak National Social Party, the Czechoslovak People's Party and the Slovak People's Party, with parliamentary support from the Green Party and the Communist Party.
The Prime Minister is the most powerful office in the state, since he heads and presides over the Government. The Constitution of Czechoslovakia states that the President, who is the head of state, formally appoints the Prime Minister. He wields considerable powers, including the right to set the agenda for most foreign and domestic policies and mobilize the parliamentary majority.
Although the Prime Minister is the country's leading political figure, he or she is not nearly as powerful as his or her counterparts in the rest of Europe. This is mainly because it is nearly impossible for one party to get a majority of seats in the Federal Assembly's Chamber of Deputies, so the government is often a coalition between two or more parties. Additionally, as a result of the weak control they have over parliament, the Prime Minister must cobble together a majority for each piece of legislation.
Although, as stated, the President formally appoints all ministers of the cabinet freely, in practice Presidents only conventionally select the Prime Minister after a leader has gathered support from a majority in the Folketing. the President thus appoints Ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister. A single party rarely has a majority in the Folketing, instead parties form alliances; usually the Social Democrats with centre-left parties, and the Republican Party (Agrarians) with centre-right parties. Following elections when there is no clear leader, the President will hold a meeting where, after a series of discussions and agreements, the leader of the largest alliance and the largest party within that alliance — usually the Social Democrats or Agrarians - is appointed as Prime Minister-elect. The new Prime Minister-elect, together with the leaders of the junior parties, select ministers to form a new coalition cabinet, which is the presented to the President.
The Prime Minister, by convention, chooses to dissolve the Federal Assembly and call a new election (although this is formally undertaken by the President), which he or she is obligated to do within four years of the previous election.
Since Czechoslovakia is a parliamentary republic the Prime Minister is accountable to the Federal Council. The Czechoslovak Constitution provides that upon the accession to the office each Prime Minister must gain and thereafter maintain the confidence of the Federal Assembly. The Federal Assembly may revoke its confidence in an incumbent Prime Minister, in which case the Prime Minister must either resign along with the entire cabinet or ask the President to dissolve the Federal Assembly and call a new election. Whenever a Prime Minister resigns, dies, or is forced from office, the President is obliged to dismiss him and designate a new Prime Minister or ask the resigning Prime Minister (or, in the case of death, the next available leader in a coalition) to keep the government as a caretaker government with limited powers until a successor has been elected.
In the Prime Minister's absence, he is represented by the deputy prime minister or other authorised minister. The prime minister is named by the president on the basis of election results, and, based on the prime minister's proposal the president then names the other members of the government (e.g. the ministers).
In periods when the post of the President of Czechoslovakia is vacant, some presidential duties is carried out by the Prime Minister. However, the Czechoslovak Constitutions do not define anything like a post of acting president.
The office of Prime Minister was established in 1918. From 1918 to 1938, the government was centralized and located in Prague, although various officials had presided over executive bodies governing the Slovak part of Czechoslovakia. During the first four years from 1918 to 1922, there were three prime ministers from three different partier: Karel Kramář of the nationalist National Democratic Party, Vlastimil Tusar of the Social Democratic Party and Edvard Beneš of the National Socialist Party held the premiership. From 1922 to 1938, the period was dominated by Prime Ministers from the Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants (RSZML, also known as "Agrarians" and, later, "Republicans") leading either grand coalitions (1922–1926, 1929–1938) or centre-right coalitions (1926–1929). The longest reigning Prime Minister of the first republic was Antonín Švehla, who held the premiership from 1922 to 1926 and from 1926 to 1929. On 5 November 1935 Milan Hodža became the first Slovak to be appointed Prime Minister, a position he held until 22 September 1938. During the Sudeten Crisis and the German invasion of Czechoslovakia, the premiership was held by General Jan Syrový heading a caretaker government.
Following the 1945 Constitutional Law of Federation, the Czechoslovak state was declared to be composed of "two equal fraternal nations," the Czech Federal Republic and the Slovak Federal Republic, each with its own national administration headed by a Prime Minister, who were subordinate to the federal government headed by the federal Prime Minister. The period between 1946 and 1969 was again dominated by Agrarian Prime Ministers leading centre-right governments (the longest of which were Miloslav Rechcígl the elder, who was in power from 1961 to 1969), with interludes of Václav Majer of the Social Democratic Party heading left-wing governments between 1946 and 1950, and between 1957 and 1961.
In 1969 the Slovak Social Democrat Alexander Dubček was appointed Prime Minister, and remained in power until 1982, except for a brief period between 1976 and 1977 when Vladimír Čermák of the Republicans headed a weak centre-right coalition. Dubček was the longest reigning Prime Minister in Czechoslovak history, and was followed by Ota Šik. In 1983 the Republican Miloslav Rechcígl the younger formed a centre-right coalition, which remained in power until losing a motion of confidence in 1987. He was replaced by Karel Schwarzenberg from the christian democratic Czechoslovak People's Party.
In 1991 the Social Democratic Party returned to power under Jiří Dienstbier. He remained in power until losing a motion of confidence in 1997. He was replaced by Mirek Topolánek of the Republican Party heading a centre-right coalition. Following the 2003 election, Vladimír Špidla formed a minority new government consisting of the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party. Following the June 2007 election the left-wing lost by a small margin to the opposing centre-right coalition, led by Miroslav Kalousek who on who on 3 July 2007 formed a new government initially consisting of the Republican Party, the Czechoslovak People's Party, the Slovak People's Party and the Sudeten German Party, with parliamentary support from the Free Democrats and the National Democrats. In 2010 Kalousek had to include the Free Democrats in the government. Following a general election defeat, in May 2013 Kalousek resigned as Prime Minister and was succeeded by the Slovak Robert Fico, who heads a minority government consisting of the Social Democrats, the National Social Party, the Czechoslovak People's Party, the Slovak People's Party.
Four out of twenty-five heads of government of Czechoslovakia in this period have been of Slovak ethnicity, including the incumbent Prime Minister Robert Fico.
Longest-sitting Prime Ministers
|Nr.||Prime Minister||Party||Period||Days||Years, months, days|
|1.||Alexander Dubček||Czechoslovak Social Democracy|| 22 September 1969 – 12 July 1976|
7 February 1977 – 23 April 1982
|4386||12 years and 6 days|
|2.||Miloslav Rechcígl Sr.||Republican Party||8 July 1961 – 22 September 1969||2998||8 years, 2 months and 14 days|
|3.||Mirek Topolánek||Republican Party||7 April 1997 – 6 October 2003||2373||6 years, 5 months and 29 days|
Living former Prime Ministers
As of 2015 five former Prime Ministers are alive:
- Miloslav Rechcígl (the younger) – born 30 July 1930 (age 85), served 1983–1987.
- Karel Schwarzenberg – born 10 December 1937 (age 77), served 1988–1991.
- Vladimír Špidla – born 21 April 1951 (age 64), served 2003–2007.
- Mirek Topolánek – born 15 May 1956 (age 59), served 1997–2003.
- Miroslav Kalousek – born 17 December 1960 (age 54), served 2007–2013.
Office and residences
The official residence of the Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia is Kramář's Villa (Kramářova vila). The residence is located at Gogolova 212/1, Hradčany, in the federal capital city of Prague. The building was built from 1911 to 1914 and designed by the Viennese architect Friedrich Ohmann.
The salaries of the cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, is decided by Cabinet Ministers' Salary Committee of the Federal Assembly.
List of Prime Ministers
Republic of Czechoslovakia (1918–1938)
Government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia in Exile (1938-1945)
After the German conquest of Czechoslovakia, a Czechoslovak government-in-exile was formed under the protection of France and Britain. The government was recognized by the United Kingdom and, later, by the United States until 6 July 1945.
Czechoslovak Federative Republic (since 1946)
|Ethnicity||Term of Office||Political Party||Cabinet||Federal Assembly|
|Took Office||Left Office||Days|
|12|| Msgr. ThDr. |
|Czech||1945||1946|| Czechoslovak People’s Party|
| National Front|
RSZML – ČSD – ČSL – KSČ – ČSNS – SĽS
|Provisional Federal Council|
|Šrámek was appointed prime minister by President Edvard Beneš heading a grand coalition called the National Front (Národní fronta in Czech and Národný front in Slovak) to sit until the new Federal Constitution had been adopted by the Provisional Federal Council and elections for the Federal Assembly could be held in 1946.|
(1 of 2)
| Václav Majer|
|Czech||1946||1950|| Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party|
|14|| Josef Černý|
|Czech||1950||1953||Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants|
|I||RSZML – ČSL/SĽS||2 (1950)|
|15|| Ladislav Karel Feierabend|
|Czech||1953||1954|| Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants|
|I||RSZML – ČSL/SĽS||2 (....)|
|1953||1954||II||RSZML – ČSL/SĽS||3 (1954)|
|16|| Jozef Lettrich|
|Slovak||1955||1957|| Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants|
|I||RSZML – ČSL/SDĽS||3 (....)|
(2 of 2)
| Václav Majer|
|Czech||1957||1961||Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party|
|18|| Miloslav Rechcígl Sr.|
|Czech||8 July 1961||2 November 1964||8 years, 2 months and 14 days|| Republican Party|
|I||RS – ČSL/SĽS||5 (1961)|
|12 October 1964||7 May 1968||II||RS – ČSL/SĽS – SDVP||6 (1964)|
|7 May 1968||22 September 1969||II|| Grand coalition|
RS – ČSSD – ČSL/SĽS
| Nuclear power referendum results in construction of first nuclear power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice (Western Slovakia); Constitutional Reform in 1966 results in direct presidential elections from 1968.
(1 of 2)
| Alexander Dubček|
|Slovak||22 September 1969||1972||6 years, 9 months and 20 days|| Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party|
|1972||12 July 1976||II||ČSSD||9 (1972)|
|Slovak. Longest sitting Prime Minister. Widely popular for his reforms of social security benefits such as injury and sickness benefits, pensions, unemployment benefits, housing allowances, basic subsistence aid allowances, and family allowances and living allowances. Enjoyed a close relationship with President Ludvík Svoboda. Supported Willy Brandt's rapprochement with the Communist bloc known as Ostpolitik. Following the election in 1980 he had to rely on parliamentary support from the ČSL/SĽS. On 9 April 1981, he lost a motion of confidence.|
|20|| Vladimír Čermák|
|Czech||12 July 1976||7 Februar 1977||6 months and 26 days|| Republican Party|
|I||RS – ČSL/SDĽS||10 (1976)|
|Defeated in a motion of no confidence on first budget.|
(2 of 2)
| Alexander Dubček|
|Slovak||7 Februar 1977||1979||5 years, 2 months and 16 days|| Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party|
|III||ČSSD||10 ( .... )|
|1979||23 April 1982||IV||ČSSD||11 (1979)|
|22||100px|| Oldřich Černík|
|Czech||1982||1983||Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party|
|I||ČSSD||11 ( .... )|
|23|| Miloslav Rechcígl Jr.|
|Czech||1983||1987|| Republican Party|
|I||RS – ČSL/SDĽS||12 (1983)|
|1987||1988||II||RS – ČSL/SDĽS||13 (1987)|
|24|| Karel Schwarzenberg|
|Czech||1988||1991|| Czechoslovak People's Party|
|I||ČSL/SĽS – ČSNS – SDVP||13 ( .... )|
|Known for his negotiation skills and will to reach political compromises, he was appointed the head of a centre-right government. He extended unemployment benefit and introduced an early retirement scheme in 1984. In foreign policy, he enjoyed a great relationship with Helmut Kohl and Franz Vranitzky. He controversially supported the NATO Double-Track Decision although Czechoslovakia wasn't a NATO member. Acted as a mediator between the United States and the Soviet Union, hosting the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in Prague in 1987.|
|25|| Jiří Dienstbier|
|Czech||1991||1995|| Czechoslovak Social Democrats|
|I||ČSD – ČSNS||15 (1991)|
|26|| Mirek Topolánek|
|Czech||7 April 1997||4 June 2001|| Republican Party|
|I||RS – ČSL/SĽS – SD–LS – SDVP||17 (1997)|
|4 June 2001||6 October 2003||II||RS – ČSL/SĽS – SD–LS – SDVP||18 (2001)|
|27|| Vladimír Špidla|
|Czech||6 October 2003||4 February 2006||2 years, 3 months and 29 days||Czechoslovak Social Democrats|
|I||ČSSD – ČSNS||19 (2003)|
|28||100px|| Stanislav Gross|
|Czech||4 February 2006||3 July 2007||1 year, 4 months and 29 days||Czechoslovak Social Democrats|
|I||ČSSD – ČSNS – ČSL/SĽS||19 ( .... )|
|29|| Miroslav Kalousek|
|Czech||3 July 2007||5 years, 11 months and 20 days|| Republican Party|
|I||RS – ČSL/SĽS – SDVP||20 (2007)|
|23 June 2013||III||RS – ČSL/SĽS – SD–LS – SDVP||21 (2010)|
|30|| Robert Fico|
|Slovak||24 June 2013||Incumbent||3 years, 4 months and 4 days|| Czechoslovak Social Democracy|
|I||ČSSD – ČSNS – ČSL/SĽS||22 (2013)|