Gross, Stanislav (Czech Republic)
Completing a meteoric rise through the ranks of his party, Stanislav Gross was appointed Czech prime minister on 26 July 2004. The former railway technician and train driver became, at the age of 34, the youngest prime minister in Europe. Once described as the ‘crown prince’ of the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), Gross was expected to use his slick negotiating skills to rebuild the splintered leading coalition and pursue economic reforms to encourage businesses and cut unemployment. However, he was soon beset by allegations of financial impropriety and resigned his position in April 2005.
Stanislav Gross was born in a working-class district of Prague on 30 Oct. 1969. After primary school, he attended a vocational secondary school that combined basic schooling with an apprenticeship as a train driver and mechanic at Prague’s Vršovice railway depot. He then did 2 years’ military service in the province of Olomouc, before joining the social democrats in 1989,...