Czechoslovakia A Reluctant Reformer Bows Out

Husak becomes the first East bloc leader to step down voluntarily

Gustav Husak came to power in extraordinary circumstances. He was installed as leader of Czechoslovakia's Communist Party in 1969, during the tumult of "normalization" that followed the Soviet-led invasion of his country the previous summer. Last week Husak, 74, exited under conditions that were even more extraordinary. By asking to step down as party chief and nominating fellow Politburo Member Milos Jakes, 65, to replace him, he became the first leader in Soviet-dominated East bloc history to give up power voluntarily.

Husak retained his seat on the eleven-member ruling Politburo, as well as the largely ceremonial job of President -- perquisites...

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