Czech Party, Government Changes Show Firm Stand Against Reform

Associated Press

The Communist Party leadership made changes at the top of the party and government Tuesday in a meeting that also expressed clear opposition to sweeping economic or political reform.

Ladislav Adamec, 62-year-old premier of the Czech lands, was chosen as new federal premier to replace Lubomir Strougal, who resigned Monday after more than 18 years in the job and gave up his seat on the ruling Politburo.

Jaromir Johanes becomes foreign minister, replacing Bohuslav Chnoupek. He has been first deputy foreign minister since July, 1987, and is a former ambassador to Canada and the United States.

Interior Minister Vratislav Vajnar, 58, will be replaced by Frantisek Kincl.


The changes were made at a two-day meeting of the party Central Committee session, which ended Tuesday, and were announced at a news conference by Jan Fojtik, the new party ideologist. He also said that five men were made full members of the Politburo, increasing the membership from 12 to 15.

Peter Colotka, who resigned as premier of Slovakia on Monday, also stepped down from the Politburo.

Czechoslovakia’s leaders appear to have been discouraged by developments in neighboring Hungary and Poland. Efforts toward reform there, or public demand for it, have created serious problems. This country has no shortage of basic consumer goods, and the foreign debt and inflation are comparatively low.

Vasil Bilak, a hard-line member, remained on the Politburo but now is in charge of foreign policy because Fojtik has been given Bilak’s old job as party ideologist.


Bilak and party chief Milos Jakes are among only a few senior officials left from the leadership installed after a Soviet-led invasion crushed Alexander Dubcek’s brief “Prague Spring” liberalization in 1968.

Fojtik said Rudolf Rohlicek, first deputy premier, will be in charge of the government until the changes can be approved by the Parliament next month.