Klaus ratified pension for ex-presidents

Vaclav Klaus

On Monday, president Vaclav Klaus signed a law ensuring that former Czech presidents will receive 100,000 crowns per month from the state. Half of the funds are to be used as pension and the other half to cover their office expenses. The only former president concerned by this law is Klaus's predecessor Vaclav Havel. Mr. Havel's office remains active in its international quest for human rights and the former president himself continues to make numerous public appearances - on January 5th of this year he received the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize, which is India's highest honour. But the cost to operate Mr. Havel's current office is 150,000 crowns per month, far exceeding the support to be given by the state. Kay Grigar spoke with Mr. Havel's secretary Jakub Hladik regarding the passing of the law.

"President Havel welcomes the support from the state of all the future ex-presidents. The sum that is provided by the state is not enough to cover all of Mr. Havel's public engagements particularly in the world support of human rights activities, however their assistance is very helpful."

How was former president Vaclav Havel funded in the past to maintain his active role in the international scene?

"He put a considerable sum of his personal funds toward the functioning of his private office set in Vorsilska Street in Prague. He was also supported by some non-governmental organizations partly from the Czech Republic and partly from abroad."

And how is the former president's health at this point? Does he still make as many public appearances as he has in the past?

"Yes of course. He is particularly involved in many activities supporting human rights all over the world. Not just in Cuba (as many may know him to be) but also Belarus, in Burma and wherever it is necessary."

What are the plans presently being made to ensure funding for Mr. Havel's future activity?

"Well, with the additional support from the state his office will continue just as in the past via sponsors and the contribution from Mr. Havel's personal funds."

How is the president's health?

"He is recovering from some health complications during his visit to India but he is recovering successfully and will be in good form in the near future. I'd also like to use this opportunity on behalf of President Vaclav Havel to thank all of the people not only from the Czech Republic but from abroad for all of their support and all of their good wishes that they send him."