Czech Leader Praises Reforms

The Czech Republic has successfully negotiated its transition from communism to a full-fledged market economy, said the republic's prime minister in a speech on political economy at the Kennedy School last night.

"The past is definitely behind us," Vaclav Klaus said in the annual Malcolm Weiner lecture, which addressed the economic problems that plagued the country following a democratic revolution in 1989.

Al Carnesale, provost and dean of the Kennedy School, introduced the prime minister, calling him the "architect" of the Czech Republic's economic miracle. Klaus criticized some economists' allegations that the Czech Republic is currently in the throes of an extended recession.

"We have had no economic recession or crisis in our country in the last year," Klaus said.

Flanked on both sides by grimfaced Czech security officers, Klaus said that his country was officially in the "post-transformation" stage.

"The old system is totally discredited and its institutions totally discredited," Klaus said.

"The opening of the game is over. We don't want to replay it," he added.

Klaus spoke of the delicate balance his country must forge between punishing members of the communist regime and allowing the present government to forgive and forget.

"The rear-view mirror cannot be greater than the front window; otherwise, youcannot see very well," said Klaus, explaining whyhe supported forward-looking policies that wouldnot focus on his country's history.

The Prime Minister spoke earlier in the day atAdams House, where he was accompanied by a largeentourage of security officers who cloggedPlympton Street with police vehicles during theafternoon.

According to Klaus, the problems facing theCzech Republic today are standard problemsconfronting every major country and should not beconstrued as the difficulties of a struggling newrepublic.

"They're all quite nice problems," Klaus said."We do not try to perfect man. We just want toperfect the institutional framework of theiractivities.