Czech Republic - Timeline

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A chronology of key events

1993 January - Vaclav Havel elected president of the Czech Republic following Czechoslovakia's "velvet divorce". Vaclav Klaus of the Civic Democratic Party (CDP) carries on as prime minister with the privatisation of the public sector as his top priority.

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Image caption,
Vaclav Havel kept the flame of dissent burning during communist rule in Czechoslovakia, and later led the separate Czech Republic

1995 - US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty relocates from Munich to Prague.

1996 June - Klaus reappointed as prime minister in a minority coalition government following the Czech Republic's first general election since independence.

1997 October - President Havel urges Czechs to fight "latent racism" in society after hundreds of Gypsies claim persecution and seek asylum in Canada and the UK.

1997 November - Klaus government resigns following collapse of coalition amid mounting disquiet over the economic reform programme and allegations of financial corruption. Caretaker administration led by Josef Tosovsky takes over.

1998 January - Havel re-elected president for a further five years.

1998 July - Following general elections, Milos Zeman, leader of the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSDP), becomes prime minister. Negotiations with the CDP lead to the "opposition agreement" which ensures a full term for the Zeman government.

1998 October - Relations with Iran and Iraq come under strain when Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty starts new broadcasts to both countries from Prague.

Nato membership

1999 March - Czech Republic becomes full member of Nato.

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Image caption,
The Soviet-designed Temelin nuclear reactor has been a source of anxiety for neighbouring countries

1999 November - Czech government bows to international and national pressure and orders the demolition of a controversial wall in the northern town of Usti nad Labem built to segregate the homes of Gypsies from those of other residents.

2000 January - CDP renews agreement to support Zeman's minority CSDP government.

2000 October- Start-up of first reactor at Temelin nuclear power plant causes outcry in neighbouring Austria which threatens to block Czech EU membership.

2001 January - The biggest street protests since the overthrow of Communism and a strike by journalists lead to the resignation of Jiri Hodac as director-general of state television. Hodac is widely seen as a political appointee and accused of compromising editorial independence.

2001 April - Vladimir Spidla elected chairman of ruling Social Democrats after Prime Minister Milos Zeman steps down as party boss. Zeman stays on as prime minister pending elections.

2001 November - Czech government and Austria's Chancellor Schuessel move to settle dispute over Temelin nuclear power plant by agreeing tough measures to improve safety and monitor impact on environment.

2002 April - Parliament votes unanimously to reject calls by neighbouring countries for the repeal of the post-war Benes decrees which led to the expulsion of over two and a half million ethnic Germans.

2002 June-July - Social Democratic Party led by Vladimir Spidla tops the poll in elections but wins only 70 seats in the 200 seat parliament. Spidla forms coalition with centrist alliance of Christian Democrats and Freedom Union. The Communists come third in the election with 41 seats, scoring by far their best result since the Velvet Revolution.

2002 August - Prague suffers its worst flooding in 200 years as torrential rain batters central Europe; other towns and villages across the country are also devastated. Floodwaters spare the city's historic Old Town.

EU membership

2002 December - EU summit in Copenhagen formally invites Czech Republic to join.

2003 February - Former prime minister Vaclav Klaus elected president. He succeeds Vaclav Havel.

2003 June - Czechs vote at referendum in favour of going ahead with EU membership in 2004.

2004 1 May - Czech Republic is one of 10 new nations to join the EU.

2004 June-August - Vladimir Spidla resigns as prime minister. Stanislav Gross is appointed premier. A new coalition government involving the same parties is approved by parliament in August.

2005 April - Stanislav Gross resigns as premier following allegations about his financial affairs. Coalition partners agree to form a new government headed by Social Democrat Jiri Paroubek.

Political deadlock

2006 June - General elections result in a hung parliament.

2006 September - President Klaus appoints a centre-right government led by Mirek Topolanek of the Civic Democratic Party. The government loses a confidence vote in October.

2006 November - President Klaus appoints Mirek Topolanek as prime minister for second time. Talks begin on forming grand coalition.

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Image caption,
Austrian demonstrators blocked the Czech border in 2007 in protest at the Temelin nuclear plant

2007 January - Parliament narrowly approves a three-party, centre-right coalition.

2007 March - Government says it will begin negotiations with the US on Washington's plans to build part of a missile defence shield in the country.

2007 June - US President George Bush visits. Hundreds protest against US plans for a radar base near Prague which would be part of a missile defence shield.

2007 December - The Czech Republic joins the EU's Schengen Treaty free movement zone.

2008 February - Vaclav Klaus re-elected as president.

2008 July - Czech Republic signs agreement allowing US to base components of its planned missile defence system on Czech territory. Russia threatens "retaliatory steps".

2009 March - Centre-right government led by Mirek Topolanek loses parliamentary vote of confidence. Mr Topolanek resigns.

2009 May - Economist Jan Fischer forms interim government to run country until expected early election in the autumn.

2009 September - Early parliamentary election is postponed after Constitutional Court rules that it would be unconstitutional.

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Image caption,
Thousands gathered to mourn the death of Vaclav Havel

2010 February - Small far-right Workers' Party outlawed, the first ban on a party for political reasons since fall of communism in 1989.

2010 May - Left-wing Social Democrats (CSSD) win most votes in general election, but not enough to form a government. Election runner-up the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) begins talks with smaller parties on forming a centre-right coalition.

2010 June - ODS leader Petr Necas forms a coalition government with the right-wing TOP 09 party and the centrist Public Affairs party.

2010 September - Proposed government spending cuts trigger mass protest in Prague.

2010 October - Opposition Social Democrats win control of Senate in mid-term elections, allowing them to obstruct government's austerity plans.

Death of Havel

2011 December - Vaclav Havel dies. A week of mourning is declared. He is given a state funeral, which is attended by many world leaders.

2012 February - Senate approves legislation allowing for the Czech president to be elected by popular vote instead of being chosen by parliament.

2012 August - Though he is opposed to the change to direct elections to the presidency, Vaclav Klaus signs the bill into law.

Zeman presidency

2013 January - Former prime minister Milos Zeman beats conservative Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg in the Czech Republic's first direct presidential elections. He takes office in March.

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Image caption,
A 2013 presidential election poster draws attention to the communist past of Jan Fischer

2013 June - Prime Minister Necas resigns amid a bribery and spying scandal.

President Zeman appoints an ally, Jiri Rusnok, as prime minister and tasks him with forming a caretaker government.

2013 July - New "government of experts" is sworn in.

2013 August - New government headed by Jiri Rusnok loses a confidence vote in parliament. MPs vote to dissolve parliament, paving the way for early elections.

2013 October - Parliamentary elections: The Social Democrats win the most votes but not enough to govern alone.

2013 December - The Social Democrats reach a coalition deal with the anti-corruption ANO movement and the centre-right Christian Democrats.

2016 July - "Czechia" is officially confirmed as alternative short English name for the Czech Republic.