President Klaus slams “extreme leftist” predecessor Havel in interview

The Czech president, Václav Klaus, has slammed his predecessor, the late Václav Havel, in an interview for a Polish weekly, the Czech newspaper Lidové noviny reported on Monday. Mr. Klaus told Do Rzeczy he regarded Mr. Havel as an extreme leftist who had wanted to create an elitist post-democracy rather than a democracy, adding that his “Havelism” was a revived form of Jacobinism. The Czech president said that while he had believed in the state, his predecessor had been a cosmopolitan with a foreign policy of “interventionism (and humanitarian bombing)” rather than respect for any world states. This last point was an evident reference to Mr. Havel’s support for the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1999. With marked ideological differences, Mr. Klaus and Mr. Havel had frequent run-ins in the two decades prior to the former dissident’s death in 2011.