Czechoslovak Communists agree to give up monopoly


PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia -- The Czechoslovak communist leadership agreed Tuesday to give up its 41-year monopoly on power and form a coalition government including non-communists and possibly members of the independent opposition.

Later in the day, the opposition group Civic Forum, which met with Prime Minister Ladislav Adamec for two hours, urged President Gustav Husak to resign.


Adamec said he would recommend formation of a new government that would include representatives of other political parties and independent groups.

The 'peaceful revolution' followed 11 straight days of demonstrations organized by students and the Civic Forum to back growing demands for political freedom. They were climaxed by a two-hour general strike on Monday in which millions of Czechoslovaks participated.

At an evening news conference, the 9-day-old Civic Forum released a new list of demands, including the resignation of Husak, who as former Communist Party leader for 18 years oversaw the period of repression following the ill-fated 1968 'Prague Spring' reform movement.


The Civic Forum also said if legislation is not enacted 'as quickly as possible' providing for free elections, free assembly and association, a free press, freedom of religion and changes in the military law, it will ask once again for the resignation of the Cabinet by the end of the year.

It also proposed that legislation be introduced to revoke the mandates of all parliamentary deputies who have 'betrayed their oaths' to their constituents, and that the government and parliament condemn the 1968 invasion by Warsaw pact tanks.

Separately, the Civic Forum sent a letter to the Soviet Union's Supreme Soviet calling on it to renounce the intervention, and said the independent newspaper Lidovy Noviny, in existence for about two years, will become a daily newspaper expressing the opposition group's objectives.

And in an announcement that drew laughter, it said the government has given the Civic Forum the use of the luxurious Palace of Culture, where the Communist Party holds its big meetings, beginning Wednesday.

In answer to a question, playwright and Civic Forum leader Vaclav Havel said the group probably would not delegate its members to participate in the government because it is not a political party, but he added, 'This does not mean the Civic Forum will not have specific demands.'


As dusk fell Tuesday, hundreds of citizens again gathered under the statue of St. Wenceslas in the capital's famed Wenceslas Square, shouting 'Freedom, Freedom' in celebration of the announcement by Adamec's government earlier.

'By Dec. 3, we will propose to the president of the reic to appoint a government with a new composition,' said Marian Calfa, a ministerwithout portfolio for legal affairs.

'It is expected that it will be a government of a broad coalition base, in which there will be both non-party representatives and representatives of other political parties, and at the same time, of course, representatives of the Communist Party,' Calfa said.

'It will be a government first of all of specialists and experts,' Calfa added during a five-minute news conference. He did not take questions.

Since the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in February 1948, many crucial government positions were held by professional Communist Party members with no qualifications for the posts they held.

Speculation on future leaders focused on Valtr Komarek, 59, an economist linked to Civic Forum and known for his outspoken view that the Communist leaders could not stop the country's conomic decline. Posters have begun appearing saying, 'Komarek for premier.'


Calfa also said the government would ask parliament to eliminate three articles in the constitution, including one guaranteeing the Communist Party the leading role in political affairs and another requiring a Marxist-Leninist-based education.

Eliminating the education provision would end the traditional cradle-to-grave political indoctrination forced upon citizens.

'This concept will be replaced by the concept that education is being carried out in harmony with scientific knowledge, and at the same time with the principles of humanity and humanitarianism,' Calfa said.

The third article to be dropped outlaws groups not allied with the National Front, a pro-government umbrella organization for political activities. In the past, non-Communist groups have been allowed to join the National Front but such groups had to be allied with the Communist Party.

The proposals will be presented to the two-chamber National Assembly or parliament, which is meeting in joint session Wednesday for only the 16th time since its creation after the war.

The announcement by Calfa came after eight Civic Forum members met with Adamec to demand a coalition government. The delegation presented a seven-point program calling for an end to one-party rule, a new democratic constitution, free elections, a multi-party system and movement toward a market economy.


The government's decision was expected to satisfy many of the chief demands of the Civic Forum, established Nov. 19 following national outrage over police beatings of students during demonstrations two days earlier.

But students meeting with new Politburo member Bretislav Benda in Prague's working-class district Tuesday rejected his statement that 'Your demands have been 90 percent fulfilled.'

Students have vowed to continue their week-old strike until all demands are met, despite a suggestion from the Civic Forum for a cooling-off period.

Some strike coordinating committees that had geared up for Monday's general strike announced they would remain active to keep the pressure on for reform.

Meanwhile, the 1.6-million-member Communist Party continued to lose its hold over the population, which only weeks ago seemed absolute.

Czechoslovak television announced hard-liner Alois Indra, demoted Saturday from the Politburo, resigned his position as head of the National Assembly.

Former party leader Milos Jakes was also stripped of his last major post, head of the Council of the Defense of State, which oversees the military.

And three leaders of the Communist Party of the Slovak Republic were ousted.

Other political parties and groups rushed in to fill the power vacuum. Television reports Tuesday announced formation of several new groups, including 'Democratic Forum of Communists' and a 'Socialist Forum,' as they tried to capitalize on the roaring popularity of the Civic Forum.


Besides an end to one-party rule, the 'Democratic Forum of Communists' listed its demands as dissolution of the hated Peoples Militia, the party's 120,000-member volunteer private army, direct elections to the party congress scheduled Jan. 26 and a re-evaluation of the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion.

Calfa issued a statement to reporters that said the government would be composed primarily of 'experts and professionals.'

Up to now, many high-level government officials were trained only in party work and had no expertise in the field they administered.

Calfa said the government would ask parliament to eliminate three articles in the constitution. Those articles guarantee the Communist Party the leading role in political affairs, outlaw groups not allied with the National Front, the umbrella organization for political activities, and require a Marxist-Leninist-based education.

'This concept will be replaced by the concept that education is being carried out in harmony with scientific knowledge,' Calfa said.

In answer to a third major demand of the Civic Forum, he said Adamec would ask Prague authorities to provide premises for activities of the opposition group.

Referring to the past week of rallies and Monday's two-hour general strike, Calfa said, 'The original excited atmosphere has changed in the course of negotiations into a constructive atmosphere in a mutual endeavor to find positive ways out from the present situation in Czechoslovakia,' he said.


The developments are expected to satisfy many of the chief demands of the Civic Forum, which was established only Nov. 19 following national outrage over police beatings of students during demonstrations two days earlier.

The police violence triggered 11 days of rallies and demonstrations around the country that culminated Monday with a two-hour general strike in which millions of Czechoslovaks participated.

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