Havel elected president 30 years ago today

30 years ago today, on December 29, 1989, the dissident playwright Václav Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia, in a vote that marked a definitive end to one-party communist rule in the country.

The dissident labelled “an enemy of the state“ by the communist regime was paradoxically elected in a unanimous vote by the country’s still communist-dominated Czechoslovak Federal Assembly.

Following the resignation of not only the communist party leadership, but also of president Gustav Husák, Marián Čalfa, a reformist communist, who then headed a so-called “government of national unity” convinced his party colleagues to fall in line and vote for change.