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Týždeň - Slovakia | Friday, January 25, 2008

Czech Republic haggles with its immigrants

Jan Švejnar, who lived for a long time in the USA and has both American and Czech citizenship, is challenging incumbent Václav Klaus in the upcoming Czech presidential elections. Czech commentator Luboš Palata writes: "Emigrants will never earn our respect. Since they left the country, they had it better than those who stayed behind. Even if they say that they were unbearably homesick and missed their friends, we are jealous of them. Whether their pockets were lined with deutschmarks or dollars. When they returned after 1989, they wanted their old apartments and houses back. But Professor Švejnar didn't come back in search of former property. On the contrary, he opened a training centre in Prague for Czech managers. Still, we don't like the fact that he still has American citizenship. … That said, it's absolutely common to have emigrants as presidents in the Baltic countries. A half-American in Prague Castle would also make us Czechs a bit more worldly."

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