Zeman, Miloš

Zeman, Miloš mēˈlōsh zĕˈmän [key], 1944–, Czech economist and political leader, president of the Czech Republic (2013–). He joined (1968) the Communist party during the Prague Spring and became (1969) an economics professor, but a year later was expelled from the party and lost his professorship. An article he wrote in 1989 sharply criticizing Communist economics brought him to wide public notice. Zeman joined the center-left Social Democratic party (CSSD) in 1992, became (1993) its leader, and played a key role in building it into a major political party. From 1996 to 2002 he was a member of the Chamber of Deputies. He was prime minister of a CSSD minority government from 1998 to 2002; during his term he helped modernize the nation's economy. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2003, then left the CSSD in 2007, forming the leftist Party of Civic Rights in 2009. In 2012 Zeman, an outspoken populist, won the presidency in the Czech Republic's first direct election; his populism became strongly anti-Muslim in the wake of the refugee flood into Europe in 2015. He was reelected in 2018. His refusal to remove and replace government ministers as proposed led in 2019 to an unsuccessful attempt to remove him.

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