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  2. Ethnic groups:
  3. Czech 90.4%, Moravian 3.7%, Slovak 1.9%, other 4% (2001 census)
  4. Population:
  5. 10,201,707 (July 2010 est.)
  6. Religions:
  7. Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59% (2001 census)
  8. Government type:
  9. parliamentary democracy
  10. chief of state: President Vaclav KLAUS (since 7 March 2003)
  11. head of government: Prime Minister Jan FISCHER (since 8 May 2009); Deputy Prime Ministers Jan KOHOUT (since 8 May 2009) and Martin BARTAK (since 8 May 2009)
  12. election results: Vaclav KLAUS reelected president on 15 February 2008; Vaclav KLAUS 141 votes, Jan SVEJNAR 111 votes (third round; combined votes of both chambers of parliament)
  14. Economy - overview:
  15. The Czech Republic is one of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe. Maintaining an open investment climate has been a key element of the Czech Republic's transition from a communist, centrally planned economy to a functioning market economy. As a member of the European Union, with an advantageous location in the center of Europe, a relatively low cost structure, and a well-qualified labor force, the Czech Republic is an attractive destination for foreign investment. Prior to its EU accession in 2004, the Czech government harmonized its laws and regulations with those of the European Union. The small, open, export-driven Czech economy grew by over 6% annually from 2005-2007 and by 2.5% in 2008. The conservative Czech financial system has remained relatively healthy throughout 2009. Nevertheless, the real economy contracted by 4.1% in 2009, mainly due to a significant drop in external demand as the Czech Republic's main export markets fell into recession.
  16. Exchange rates:
  17. koruny (CZK) per US dollar - 19.373 (2009), 17.064 (2008), 20.53 (2007), 22.596 (2006), 23.957 (2005)
  18. GDP - per capita (PPP):
  19. $25,100 (2009 est.)
  20. country comparison to the world: 52
  21. Imports - commodities:
  22. machinery and transport equipment, raw materials and fuels, chemicals
  23. Exports - commodities:
  24. machinery and transport equipment, raw materials and fuel, chemicals
  27. The Czech Republic is a pluralist multi-party parliamentary representative democracy. President Václav Klaus is the current head of state. The Prime Minister is the head of government (currently Jan Fischer)
  28. The Czech Republic possesses a developed,[48] high-income[49] economy with a GDP per capita of 82% of the European Union average.[50]
  29. Most of the economy has been privatised, including the banks and telecommunications. The current centre-right government plans to continue with privatisation, including the energy industry and the Prague airport.
  30. Sports play a part in the life of many Czechs, who are generally loyal supporters of their favourite teams or individuals. The two leading sports in the Czech Republic are football (soccer) and ice hockey, both drawing the largest attention of both the media and supporters. Tennis is also a very big sport in the Czech Republic. The many other sports with professional leagues and structures include basketball, volleyball, team handball, track and field athletics and floorball.
  31. The historic city of Prague is the primary tourist attraction, as the city is also the most common point of entry for tourists visiting other parts of the country.[70] Most other cities in the country attract significant numbers of tourists, but the spa towns, such as Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně, are particularly popular holiday destinations. Other popular tourist sites are the many castles and chateaux, such as those at Karlštejn Castle, Český Krumlov and the Lednice–Valtice area. Away from the towns, areas such as Český ráj, Šumava and the Krkonoše Mountains attract visitors seeking outdoor pursuits.
  32. The country is also famous for its love of puppetry and marionettes with a number of puppet festivals throughout the country. The Pilsener style beer originated in western Bohemian city of Plzeň, and further south the town of Budweis lent its name to its beer, eventually known as Budweiser Bier Bürgerbräu thus Budweiser.
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