LAST week saw hockey legend Miroslav Šatan left out of the nomination for the Olympics, a technical error prevented TV Markíza from broadcasting its prime-time news programme for the first time in history, and Prime Minister Robert Fico revealed that as a child he didn’t watch television.

And what beat all of these stories (if clicks on the sme.sk newssite are any indication)? “Dzurinda injured his head, admitted to alcohol, apologised”.

Former prime minister Mikuláš Dzurinda certainly set a new standard for honesty and self-reflection when he took responsibility for the incident and the subsequent medical treatment, which he said he remembers “adequately” (primerane).

The entire affair is symbolic in two ways. For many, the picture of Dzurinda, who was visibly “socially tired” (there’s a nice Slovak euphemism for you), sitting in a wheelchair, illustrated the state in which the entire opposition currently finds itself. Helpless, bruised, lost.

But the enormous interest in the event proves something else. For all his flaws and past scandals, Dzurinda has always been able to attract attention and spur public debate. And after his dethroning, the right has not been able to find an adequate replacement.