The Czech Republic has two-thirds of Czechoslovakia's people, three-fourths of its gross national product and four-fifths of its foreign investment. Unemployment is 3 percent there, and 11 percent in the Slovak Republic. Small wonder the Slovaks last month gave the most votes to a party committed to independence. And small wonder that the Czech Republic is better equipped for a separate future than is Slovakia.
The Czechoslovakian parliament probably doomed federal Czechoslovakia. In a complicated process designed to provide veto power to each nationality, it rejected Vaclav Havel's continuation as president, against no opponent. Most of the people, according to opinion polls, want the federal republic to hang together. Most members of parliament wanted Mr. Havel to continue as president. But that's not the way it works. (And in each case, that "most" was a paper-thin majority.)
The defeat of Mr. Havel was a veto by a majority of the minority Slovak deputies. Vladimir Meciar, the Slovak leader, is an old Communist who wants independence because the Czech-driven free market reforms have impoverished Slovakia. But he is also getting back at the man who lead the "velvet revolution" that toppled the Communists.