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 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 13:13 GMT
Excerpts: Havel's farewell speech
Czech President Vaclav Havel after the farewell speech on 15th Jan 2003
Saying goodbye after ten years
Czech President Vaclav Havel has given a farewell speech to the Czech parliament in Prague.

The special session of the parliament will also elect Havel's successor.

Excerpts from Vaclav Havel's farewell speech:

"This meeting will be electing the president of the republic, which is always an important moment in the history of our state and which will be, thanks to the combination of various circumstances especially important in this very moment.

I did my best. Perhaps I managed well in some cases, perhaps I ruined something

"I would like to make use of this rare opportunity to thank you and all your predecessors who elected me to this post on two occasions for your trust and to say farewell to you as a president.

Reviewing his record

"I did my best. Perhaps I managed well in some cases, perhaps I ruined something.

"In any way, my task is not to assess my work. This is and will be a matter for the public, politicians, journalists and, of course, political scientists and historians.

As a citizen of our state who never managed to keep silent when basic values of our social life were in question I do not want and I would not be able to leave public life altogether

"Perhaps I myself will return to this, but definitely after some time, when I shall have - as I hope - a certain overview and when I will no longer be bound by my post to reflect in a very cautious and very diplomatic way on my own work.

Staying in public life

"As a citizen of our state who never managed to keep silent when basic values of our social life were in question I do not want and I would not be able to leave public life altogether.

"I cannot leave it because of my nature and also because various tasks or issues both from home and abroad will come to me in the future too and I cannot just ignore them.

"Nevertheless, for good reasons I have ordained to my self, at least in the initial period, a considerable degree of restraint."

Mr Havel also made reference to parliament's impending decision on possible Czech involvement in any military action against Iraq:

Your decision-making will not be simple and it must not be simple. At least it must not be populist or incompetent

"One of the special circumstances which accompanies this presidential election is that simultaneously or rather on the same day, you will be making a decision on matters of very fundamental importance related to our participation in defending mankind against a certain and very dangerous threat.

"Your decision-making will not be simple and it must not be simple. At least it must not be populist or incompetent.

"I believe and hope that the last word in your consideration will belong to the supreme authority, the authority to which you referred in your oath - your conscience and the ensuing feeling of responsibility."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

14 Jan 03 | Europe
04 Jun 02 | Europe
20 Oct 02 | Country profiles
20 Oct 02 | Country profiles
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