Czechoslovakia's two leading politicians have decided to split their country.
Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar, who have been negotiating the makeup of a new government since elections two weeks ago, agreed early Saturday that it is no longer possible to preserve the 74-year-old federation of Czechs and Slovaks.
They asked the two regional parliaments representing the Czech Republic and Slovakia to work out a final arrangement by Sept. 30.
The country will be run by a temporary federal government slimmed down from 16 cabinet members to 10, and from 13 ministries to five: defense, finance, foreign, interior, and economy.
Mr. Klaus, the aggressive economic reformer and Czech political leader, and Mr. Meciar, the ex-Communist and nationalist leader of Slovakia, will meet this week to negotiate cabinet assignments.
Both negotiators said that a new arrangement between Czechs and Slovaks will be developed peacefully.