Slovakia decides on an early election

10-02-2006

Slovakia is heading for elections 3 months ahead of schedule after a junior coalition party pulled out and the minority government of Mikulas Dzurinda came close to collapse. Mr Dzurinda asked Parliament for early elections and all parties agreed on June 17th. The centre right government is credited with economic reforms creating strong economic growth but which were not always popular with Slovaks.

Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, photo: CTKPrime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, photo: CTK Martina Grenova of Radio Slovakia International told us what triggered the early elections:

"The core of the crisis is the Vatican Treaty, especially that on what is called the treaty on conscientious objection. Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda and the Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan, who refused to sign a treaty between Slovakia and the Vatican, say they have a problem with some parts of the treaty. That is why the Christian Democrats pulled out of the governing coalition."

Slovaks go to the polls on June 17. What's the trend? Opinion polls appear to be showing a swing to the left in Slovakia.

"This has been a trend for quite a long time, for about the past two years because of the reforms that the government adopted. They did not meet much public support and this government will be remembered for the changes in the health system and social benefits systems, which both greatly affect the social situation of the citizens. This has been reflected in opinion polls for several years now. Being in the opposition, it is natural that the so-called leftist parties oppose these steps, saying that they are harming the citizens. The Smer Party, for example, which says it is a social democratic party, tops the opinion polls in Slovakia."

Slovakia has certainly had a reputation of an economic miracle in recent years and it has been the Dzurinda government, which has led that. If there is a change of government in June, should foreign investors be worried?

"Even the leftist parties in Slovakia realize that reforms and the economic path that the current government took have made Slovakia renowned among foreign investors and shouldn't be interrupted. The inflow of foreign investment is important and it seems that although the declared statement by the opposition parties is quite critical, they are not as critical to foreign investment."

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