At the opening ceremony of a new exhibition on Czech and Slovak history, including the Velvet Revolution, at the National Museum on Sunday, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš gave a speech in which he called the Velvet Revolution the “most important event in modern Czech history”. He also paid tribute to the former dissident and first president of Czechoslovakia after the revolution Václav Havel, admiring his bravery during the pivotal days of 1989. He also reflected on his Communist Party membership before the Velvet Revolution, saying he was “not proud of it” and that he regretted not being as “brave and engaged” as the former president.
Mr. Babiš also expressed his “thanks and humility” towards those who were “brave enough” to go into the streets in November 1989, but also highlighted that he is the democratically elected prime minister. Yesterday, an estimated 300,000 people came onto the streets asking for him to either resign or fire his justice minister and relinquish control over his former company Agrofert, which some believe he still has based on the results of a preliminary EU audit. However, Mr. Babiš denies this and his ANO party is currently far ahead of other parties in the polls.
The prime minister went on to say that Czechs “should be proud of what they have accomplished” and that they are currently living through “the best and most free” period in their 100 year history.
Mr. Babiš also paid tribute to the Poles, saying that it should not be forgotten that they were the first to achieve free elections.
His speech was followed up by the heads of government of Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, who are also attended the event. The President of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble was also present.
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