Group wants Czech president renamed

A petition poking fun at a drive to rename everything in the Czech Republic after the late former president Vaclav Havel has become a Facebook hit: now they want President Vaclav Klaus renamed too.

By Wednesday, a tongue-in-cheek petition calling for the stridently eurosceptic Klaus to "be renamed Vaclav Havel with immediate effect" had drawn 6,666 supporters on the social network.

Havel's name "must be reserved for something sublimely majestic, something which transcends the mundane utilitarianism of our merely mortal lives, nothing less, in fact, than the presidential office itself!" the petition said.

"We call on Parliament to make it mandatory in law that all future presidents of the Czech Republic be automatically renamed Vaclav Havel.
"Only thus will truth and love forever prevail over envy and the sordid lie," they added, mocking Havel's popular motto that "truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred."

Following Havel's death at 75 on December 18 last year, fans of the anti-communist dissident playwright-turned-president launched a campaign to rename a host of places after him.

Proposals included Prague airport, a library, schools, streets and squares.

Others want a brand new banknote to the value of 10,000 koruna (390 euros, $496), carrying Havel's portrait on it. The banknote's value amounts to almost half of the average monthly salary.

The facetious Facebook campaign captures the spirit of Havel's theatre of the absurd-style plays.

Havel steered his compatriots through the bloodless Velvet Revolution in 1989 that toppled Soviet-backed communism in the then-Czechoslovakia.

He served as president of Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992 and subsequently the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003 after the federation split.

Havel was replaced by Klaus, an economist by profession and an ardent eurosceptic, whose second and final presidential term will expire in 2013.

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