President Gustav Husak appointed a new government Wednesday after the premier and his cabinet resigned in a shake-up expected to slow the pace of reform.
Husak appointed a new 20-member government, including Ladislav Adamec to replace Lubomir Strougal as the federal premier, the state-run CTK news agency said. The appointments amounted to a rubber stamp of selections made Tuesday by the Communist Party Central Committee.Strougal, a key advocate of speedy economic and social reform, was premier for 18 years. He resigned Monday during a meeting of the Central Committee and also gave up his seat on the party's ruling Politburo.
Adamec, 62, was premier of the Czech Republic, one of the nation's two republics. He is expected to be less insistent on speedy reform than Strougal. The Czech Republic's Parliament Wednesday chose Frantisek Pitra to replace Adamec as the republic's premier, CTK said.
The new government requires approval by the Federal Assembly, or parliament, scheduled to meet in November. It was not clear what became of a caretaker government that was appointed Tuesday.
Speeches published after the Central Committee meeting made clear that party leaders favor reforms but resist radical changes in the economy, such as tampering with the socialist linchpin - central planning.
Warning of the potential for high inflation and unemployment under rapid reform, the leadership backed personnel changes aimed at pursuing a slower road to restructuring than that of the Soviets.
Strougal, 63, was known to have championed thorough economic reform similar to those being carried out in the Soviet Union under President Mikhail Gorbachev. But Strougal's plans for innovative changes were watered down by party conservatives.
Adamec's main advantage appears to be that in the eyes of many he is not associated with the brutal suppression that occurred during the so-called "crisis years" of 1968-69 when then-party chief Alexander Dubcek was purged in the wake of a Soviet-led invasion.
Party chief Milos Jakes, chief ideologist Jan Fojtik, and a resolution published Tuesday made it clear that political change like that in the Soviet Union has been ruled out for some time to come.