Prime Minister-designate Marian Calfa and the opposition movement Civic Forum agreed Saturday on a new government that gives non-communists 11 of 21 Cabinet posts, and hard-line President Gustav Husak said he would resign as soon as the new government is formally appointed.
Calfa, who hammered out the agreement in a meeting with political parties and opposition groups, said he would present the new "government of national understanding" Sunday.The announcement of the government agreement came shortly after Husak said in a televised address that he would step down as president. Husak, the hard-line Czech leader who presided over the dismantling of the Prague Spring reforms of 1968, said he was waiting for the appointment of a new government to avoid a constitutional crisis and a state of chaos.
"Immediately after the appointment of a new government, I shall resign the post of president of Czechoslovakia in order to make further development easier," he said. "According to the constitution, the federal assembly (parliament) will have to elect a new president within 14 days."
Officials said the government agreement hammered out under Calfa's leadership included 10 members of the Communist Party, two members each from the Socialist and Peoples parties formerly allied with the communists, and seven members without political affiliation. The composition raised the possibility the Communists could be outvoted by the other Cabinet members.
At a brief news conference following the meeting at the government palace, officials said Jan Carnogursky, of the reform movement "Slovakia - Public Against Violence," had been named a deputy prime minister in the Cabinet. The rest of the Cabinet positions and appointees were not disclosed.
The televised portion of the daylong meeting showed the Civic Forum's leading figure, playwright Vaclav Havel, and its spokesman, Jiri Dienstbier, whom it was speculated might be the new foreign minister. Carnogursky and representatives of the three major political parties also were present.
"I have the feeling that the talks were unusually constructive and that the result is good," Havel said following four hours of discussions.
Other officials expected to be part of the new Cabinet included Valtr Komarek, a prominent economic analyst and Communist Party member who is adviser to the forum. He was expected to receive a top economic post.
The communists were considered likely to give up their hold on the Interior Ministry, but to retain the Defense Ministry. The two posts have been the traditional means through which the Communist Party enforced its domination.
As the national roundtable met at the government palace, students holding a vigil outside the building waved Czechoslovakian flags and strung a line of balloons between two lampposts in front of the structure.
The Civic Forum members, returning to their headquarters later, were greeted by a clerk who gave them each a hug and a kiss. Officials said the group had received a letter of support from Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.
In his address to the nation, Husak said he continued to stand by his communist ideals, blaming any mistakes on individuals and not the ideas of communism.
Husak collaborated with Soviet authorities during the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by five Warsaw Pact states and then, as Communist Party leader, oversaw the dismantling of the reforms initiated during the "Prague Spring" led by his predecessor, Alexander Dubcek.
He is the last of the hard-line communist leaders connected with the 1968 invasion to leave office, and his resignation had been demanded by the Civic Forum before International Human Rights Day, which takes place Sunday. All of the others have resigned their Politburo or government posts.
Husak noted the National Assembly, or parliament, will meet Tuesday to confirm the new government and name a new president.
Former Prime Minister Lubomir Strougal resigned his positions in parliament and on the Communist Party Central Committee on Saturday to help make way for reforms within the government and the party.
Strougal had been considered Czechoslovakia's top reformist leader before his resignation on Oct. 11, 1988, as premier and as a Politburo member following a losing battle with hard-liners.
In other developments, the official news agency CTK reported some 15,000 Czechoslovaks, using their new right of visa-free travel to Austria, crossed the border at Mikulov for to shop and sightsee.