Communist Party leader Gustav Husak on Wednesday (January 27) succeeded Evzen Erban as leader of Czechoslovakia's National front coalition of Political Parties and Public Groups.
LV Spanish Hall of Prague Castle Committee arrives on stand
SV Members applaud and take seats
MV (left to right) Evzen Erban, Ludvik Svoboda & Josef Kempny seated.
SCU Erban speaking
MV Gustav Husak takes bow
SV Members applauding
MV (left to right) Svoboda & Kempny
SV Members applauding
CU Lubemir & Strougal
SV Kempny, Antonin Kapek, Daliber Hanes
SV Members applaud
SV PAN Husak takes stand at microphone
SV PAN/GV Television lights to Spanish Hall.
Initials BB/BOB/BB/0240 BB/BOB/BB/0300
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Background: Communist Party leader Gustav Husak on Wednesday (January 27) succeeded Evzen Erban as leader of Czechoslovakia's National front coalition of Political Parties and Public Groups. Dr. Husak received a unanimous vote at the National Front's Central Committee Meeting in Prague Castle.
Dr. Husak who now leads both Party and Front, takes over from 58-year-old Mr. Erban, a former Social Democrat, who is still a member of the Communist Party's ruling Presidium.
The National Front is firmly under the control of the Communists but exists to give other minor parties some share of political life. An example of this is that the Front rather than the Communist Party presents the list of candidates offered to voters at election time.
Mr. Erban was seated alongside Dr. Husak at Wednesday's session of the National Front meeting--an indication,it is presumed by observers--that he has not lost political favour.
There is speculation, however, that a change in the Presidium may come at a meeting of the Party's Central Committee, expected during next month.
Mr. Erban has headed the National Front since 1968, the year he was elevated to the Presidium.
Addressing the Front's Committee Dr. Husak warned Czechoslovak churches to keep out of politics. He also reminded non-Communist parties of their restricted role in the country's political life and hinted to voters that elections might not be held this year.
Dr. Husak also strongly warned the country at large that the Communist Party did not intend to "win popularity at the cost of retreating from socialist principles."
Dr. Husak's tone, however, was moderate--even jocular--and appeared to reflect confidence that his "strict but fair" approach would achieve political and economic stabilisation in the country.