Václav Klaus (Czech pronunciation: ; born 19 June 1941) is the second President of the Czech Republic (since 2003, reelected 2008) and a former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic (1992–1997). An economist by trade, he is co-founder of the Civic Democratic Party, the Czech Republic's largest center-right political party. Klaus, who is a eurosceptic, is opposed to the Lisbon treaty, which at one point needed his signature to come into force. He has been called "the Margaret Thatcher of Central Europe".
Klaus grew up in the upper-middle class residential Vinohrady neighborhood of Prague and graduated from the University of Economics, Prague in 1963; he also spent some time at universities in Italy (1966) and Cornell University in the United States (1969).
During the Prague Spring he published articles on economics in the pro-reform, non-communist magazine Tvář (The Face) and the leading weekly Literární noviny. He then pursued a postgraduate academic career at the (state) Institute of Economics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, which he left (by his account, being forced out for political reasons) in 1970. He subsequently, from 1971 to 1986, held various positions at the Czechoslovak State Bank. In 1987 Klaus joined the Prognostics Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.