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Václav Havel (born October 5, 1936) is a Czech writer and dramatist. He was the last President of Czechoslovakia and the first President of the Czech Republic.
Following the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968 he was banned from the theatre and became more politically active. This culminated with the publication of the Charter 77 manifesto. His political activities cost him five years in prison. He was a leading figure in the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989. On December 29, 1989, as head of the Civic Forum, he was elected president by the Federal Assembly.
In the free elections of 1990 he retained the presidency. He strongly supported the retention of the federation of the Czechs and the Slovaks, despite increasing tension. On July 3 1992 the federal parliament did not elect Havel - the only candidate for presidency - due to a missing support by Slovak MPs. After the Slovaks had issued their Declaration of Independence, he resigned as president on July 20.
When the Czech Republic was created he stood for election there on January 26, 1993, and won. Despite illness and three operations he was re-elected in 1998. His term ended on February 2, 2003; Václav Klaus, one of his greatest political opponents, was appointed his successor on February 28, 2003.
Havel's plays include: