Much political debate in what is formally called the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic swirls around the question whether the word Czechoslovakia properly contains a hyphen. In last weekend's election, the hyphen won.
More separates Czechs from Slovaks than their language, religion and whether it was Austria or Hungary that suppressed them for centuries. Slovakia has only half as many people as the Czech provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, more farms and less industry. The Czech Republic is Central Europe; the Slovak Republic is Eastern Europe. And after the drastic free market reforms of Finance Minister Vaclav Klaus, the Czech Republic has 3 percent unemployment while the Slovak Republic has 11 (( percent.
Small wonder that the winner of the weekend election in the Czech Republic was the Civic Democratic Party of Mr. Klaus, which wants to push the reforms home. Or that the winner in the Slovak Republic was the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia under the former Communist, Vladimir Meciar, who wants to halt them. Economic program aside, Mr. Klaus wants to preserve the union of Czechoslovakia and Mr. Meciar to end it. Mr. Klaus wants to retain the national leadership of President Vaclav Havel and Mr. Meciar wants to dump him.