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The party held its establishing congress in April 1991, when the then Finance Minister Vaclav Klaus became party leader, a function he holds to this day.
In 1995 it absorbed the far smaller Christian Democratic Party.
After the parliamentary elections of 1998 brought no clear winner, the Social Democrats, as the party with the most seats in the Chamber of Deputies, signed the so called "opposition agreement" with the second strongest political force, the right of center Civic Democratic Party of Vaclav Klaus, under which the Civic Democrats agreed to tolerate the minority Social Democrat government.
At the time Milos Zeman described his government (with only just over a third of seats in parliament) as "suicidal", but the party has survived its four year term without major crisis.
It is the oldest of the existing Czech political parties, dating back to the days of the Austro Hungarian Empire.
The party played a significant role in the foundation of Czechoslovakia after World War I, and between the wars it was one of the prominent players on the Czechoslovak political scene.
Since the June 1998 parliamentary elections the Civic Democratic Party, which won the second largest number of seats, has tolerated the minority Social Democratic government through a pact known as the "opposition agreement".
As an economist he firmly embraces the free market.Favors a "social market economy", but in government it has also overseen an acceleration of the privatization process: the main Czech banks are among the most prominent examples.In government the party has also put considerable stress on encouraging foreign investment.After parliamentary elections in 1992, the ODS became the senior partner in the ruling right of centre coalition and Mr Klaus became Prime Minister.After the June 1996 elections the ODS headed a fragile right of centre government, comprised of the same political partners, but reduced to just under half the seats in the House of Deputies.