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IN SHORT

Dzurinda only SDKÚ leadership candidate

PM Mikuláš Dzurinda will likely not face a challenge to his leadership in the upcoming elections for the post of chairman of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) party.

The SDKÚ's executive board has set the leadership ballot for February 18, the Pravda daily wrote.

Although Dzurinda is expected to breeze through to another term, the SDKÚ chairman said that competition would not worry him.

"I had no problem with it four years ago either," said Dzurinda.

In 2002 Dzurinda was challenged by Ivan Šimko, the SDKÚ's former nominee as Defence Minister. Šimko lost to Dzurinda and later, after being fired from his Defence Ministry post in a rancorous dispute over a national security official, left the SDKÚ to found the Free Forum party.

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