Marián Čalfa

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Marián Čalfa
Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia
In office
10 December 1989 – 2 July 1992
Preceded by Ladislav Adamec
Succeeded by Jan Stráský
Personal details
Born (1946-05-07) 7 May 1946 (age 67)
Trebišov, Czechoslovakia

Marián Čalfa (born 7 May 1946 in Trebišov) was a Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia during and after the Velvet Revolution, as well as acting President for 19 days, and was a key facilitator of smooth power transfer from the Communists to a new democratic representation.

An ethnic Slovak, he was a member of KSČ, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. From 1985, he worked as the head of a legislative department of the Czechoslovak federal government. In April 1988, he became a minister - the chairman of the legislative committee. During the Velvet Revolution, on 10 December 1989, he was appointed Prime Minister in place of discredited Ladislav Adamec, at the head of the first cabinet in 41 years that was not dominated by the KSČ. As President Gustáv Husák resigned from his office shortly after swearing in the government, Čalfa also took on most presidential duties until the election of Václav Havel on 29 December.

On 18 January 1990, he left the KSČ to join the Public Against Violence (VPN) party and, when it dissolved in April 1991, became a leading member of the Civic Democratic Union (ODU-VPN).

Both cabinets headed by Čalfa succeeded in introducing significant political and economic reforms, facilitating the transition from Communism Party rule to a multi-party system and a market-oriented economy. Čalfa enjoyed strong support from all relevant political powers, including both President Václav Havel and an increasingly confident Finance Minister Václav Klaus.

Čalfa resigned from the Federal Government after the defeat of the Public Against Violence in the elections of 1992. He was succeeded by caretaker Jan Stráský, whose major task was the execution of Dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Since then, Čalfa has been working as a lawyer in Prague, Czech Republic, heading law firm Čalfa, Bartošík a Partneři.

During his tenure as Prime Minister, Čalfa was occasionally a target of criticism for his Communist past. Some considered this as a proof that the Velvet Revolution was unfinished or even "stolen" by people belonging to the past nomenklatura. Presently, historians consider him as a "power behind the throne," who greatly contributed to the smoothness and speed of Velvet Revolution and the election of Václav Havel as President. He used his negotiation skills in critical moments against his fellow Communist Party members and talked them into compromises that were sometimes more radical the representatives of the Civic Forum had expected.

Many politicians of the subsequent democratic era, including Václav Klaus, said that they learned many things about real politics from Čalfa. [citation?]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ladislav Adamec
Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia
1989–1992
Succeeded by
Jan Stráský
Preceded by
Gustáv Husák
President of Czechoslovakia
(acting)

1989
Succeeded by
Václav Havel

External links[edit]