The long and successful reign of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and his Civic Democratic Party ended in November 1997 with the collapse of the coalition that had kept him in power. This collapse was the result of a worsening economy, several financial scandals, and political dissention within the coalition. After new elections were held in June 1998, the Czech Social Democratic Party formed a minority government with Milos Zeman as prime minister, bringing a leftist party to power for the first time since 1989. The Zeman government had its problems as well, particularly in the area of censorship and personal rights, but Zeman was able to win reelection in 2002 since the economy had rebounded in 2001. Klaus, whose Civic Democratic Party failed to retake power in the parliamentary election, was elected president in 2003, striking a blow to the government of the Social Democratic Party. The Czech Republic became a full member of NATO in 1999 and has been invited to join the European Union by 2004. The Czech Republic, Second Edition takes a close look at historical and recent events to provide up-to-date and comprehensive coverage of the Czech Republic's recent history. This updated and revised edition chronicles the history of this country and examines current political, economic, and cultural developments. Accessible, up to date, and reliable, it is a great starting point for students and general readers interested in learning more about the Czech Republic and its people.