Why we didn't want the breakup of Czechoslovakia

Images from the history of the Sme daily: After the 1992 elections.

Mečiar and his supporters in the 1990s.Mečiar and his supporters in the 1990s. (Source: Sme)

Alexej Fulmek is the CEO of the Petit Press publishing house. In 1993, he co-founded the Sme daily along with its first editor-in-chief, Karol Ježík. He has been part of the story of the daily, and the history of Slovakia, ever since. This extract is from his memoir One Flew Over the Newsprint published in the Slovak original in December 2018.

Talks between the winners of the 1992 parliamentary elections, Vladimír Mečiar in Slovakia and Václav Klaus in the Czech Republic, hit a dead end. Mečiar’s requirements were directed at a confederation, something the Czech representation was not willing to accept. Dividing Czechoslovakia into two independent republics was the only way out of this situation for both sides. Even though it was decided in talks, in a civilised and peaceful way, with no victims or wars, the basic democratic right of all citizens of Czechoslovakia remained trampled – the right to a referendum in which everyone would have their say about what country they wanted to live in and whether Czechoslovakia was to be divided.

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