Jiří Horák

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Jiří Horák in 1990

Jiří Horák (24 April 1924 in Hradec Králové – 25 August 2003 in Englewood, Florida) was a Czechoslovak politician. He was the first chairman of the Czech Social Democratic Party after the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

After 1945 Horák studied at Business Institute (Vysoká škola obchodní) in Prague and was active in youth organisation of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party. When the Communist Party took all power (1948) he emigrated into West Germany and in 1951 into the United States. He studied politology at the Columbia University in New York. He subsequently taught Eastern European and Russian government and politics at Manhattan College, in Riverdale (Bronx) NY. In 1967 he obtained the position of professor there, where he taught until retirement.

During emigration Horák participated in activities of social democracy in exile (in 1948 the party was forcibly merged with Communist Party). After Communist Party lost its power (1989) he returned to Czechoslovakia and re-established the party, becoming its leader. During 1990 election the party failed to obtain seats in the parliament; Horák got involved in internal party disputes. In 1992 elections the party narrowly obtained parliament presence. In 1993 Miloš Zeman replaced Horák as party leader.

In 1993 Horák returned to the United States, from where he criticised the new strategy of Czech social democracy.

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