Lawmakers Ratify NATO Membership
Legislators ratified the country’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by a comfortable majority and then celebrated passage with a standing ovation. President Vaclav Havel, recovering from emergency intestinal surgery at an Austrian hospital, proclaimed the 154-38 vote a historic day for Czechs. “Thanks to this decision and thanks to our future membership in the alliance, we will have--for the first time in our history--a firm security anchor and, even more, an anchor in the democratic world,” Havel said. The accession still requires ratification in the 81-seat upper chamber, the Senate. No date has been set yet for that vote, but passage seems assured.