Václav Klaus is president of the Czech Republic, first elected in February 2003. An economist by education, he has worked in research at the Institute of Economics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Czechoslovak State Bank. He has held academic posts at the Forecasting Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Charles University, and the Prague School of Economics. In 1989, he began his political career as Federal Minister of Finance. He has also served as Deputy Prime Minister of the Czecho-Slovak Federation; chairman of the Civic Forum; and co-founder and chairman of the Civic Democratic Party. He became prime minister of the Czech Republic in 1992, and in that role took part in the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia and the foundation of an independent Czech Republic. In 1996, he successfully defended his position as prime minister in the elections to the Chamber of Deputies, but he resigned after the break-up of the government coalition in November 1997. After the early elections of 1998, he became chairman of the Chamber of Deputies for a four-year term of office.