News | All stories

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel says that he would welcome the Czech Republic gaining a new constitution within four to six years. Mr. Havel made the remarks during an interview on Sunday's TV program, Otazky Vaclava Moravce. Vaclav Havel said he wants to see a constitution that would be "brief, concise, and sensible," such that children could learn it in schools, and one that would inject greater fairness into the electoral system. The former president also expressed his disapproval for the recent post-election developments, saying that it took unnecessarily long to name Mirek Topolanek prime minister—according to Mr. Havel, Mr. Topolanek could have been named within days after the June election.

Mr. Havel also commented on the future of the European Union, saying that it must define itself not only in terms of common values, but also recognize its own geographic limits. The former president used New Zealand as an example of a country with "greater European values than some EU members," though it is beyond the EU zone. According to Mr. Havel, future EU expansion could include Turkey which has "one foot in Europe" and is an ally of Europe's, as well as the Balkan states, Ukraine, and Belarus. Mr. Havel was clear in drawing a line at these eastern states, thus excluding Russia, which he indicated belongs to another culture.

The extended TV interview with Vaclav Havel aired just days before the former president, playwright, and human rights activist celebrates his 70th birthday.