This period saw a revival of ideas for a political life outside, or opposed to, existing parties. Initiatives emerged, some with directly political aims but others ostensibly to create an independent discussion forum. Among the most substantial was DU+277kujeme, odejdU+277te ('Thank you, now leave'), initiated as a petition in November 1999 by former student leaders from the events of November 1989. Their call was for the then current generation of political leaders to resign. It soon claimed 150,000 signatures of support. This and other initiatives were quickly confronted with a situation that differed substantially from that of 1990. Civil society, in the sense of an informal sphere distinct from the existing structures of power, could claim a base in past traditions and could win immediate support from part of the population. Before long, however, figures leading independent initiatives were being asked about their links to existing parties, about what constructive alternatives they could propose and about whether they too might not soon be forming a party. It remains to be seen whether the partial revival of 'non-party' political activity after 1998 will prove to be a minor, temporary episode or whether the strength of past traditions and a continuing level of distrust towards the 'formal' sphere mean that it will remain a more permanent feature of Czech political life.
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