Saturday, May 2, 2015

Czechoslovakia? Czechs and Slovaks launch campaign for referendum on reunification

Published: PRAGUE – Czechs and Slovaks launched a campaign to collect 150,000 signatures in Slovakia and 50,000 in the Czech Republic in a joint petition to force officials in Prague and Bratislava to call for a referendum in 2018 on the reunification of Czechoslovakia.
The movement called “Czechoslovakia 2018″ states on its website that in 1992 it was decided, for political reasons, to divide the joint state which functioned well and citizens are not allowed to say in a referendum what they think about the division of Czechoslovakia.
“According to the surveys, a large part of the population believes that the division of Czechoslovakia was a mistake and would not have consented to it if they were allowed to vote on the issue. For example, in a survey conducted by Czech television, 70 percent of respondents found the division of the country as a misstep and they are bothered that they could not be heard. According to Slovakian magazine SME, 40 percent of Slovaks would like to live with Czechs again,” says the website of the movement.
The fact that former Czechoslovakia was divided by politicians, led by the then Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and Slovakian Vladimir Meciar, and that they categorically refused to give the chance to the citizens to express their opinion on referendum is one of the few stains on the Czech-Slovakian “velvet” divorce.
“The common state would have a greater importance in the world, it would be stronger, would better respond to external threats and more efficiently implement the independent foreign and domestic policy,” said the initiator of the campaign, publicist Ladislav Zelinka.
One of the arguments is that both Czechs and Slovaks, especially since the joint entry into the European Union in 2004, always mark each other as the closest and friendliest people in the world in surveys, and regardless of who is currently in power in Prague and Bratislava, the cooperation between the two countries is impeccable.
Year 2018 is chosen as deeply symbolic since then Czechs and Slovaks will celebrate the centennial of the creation of Czechoslovakia and realization of the vision of the first Czechoslovakian President Tomas Masaryk of the joint state.

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