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New political party on the horizon

A NEW political party is emerging on Slovakia’s political horizon. Two members of Mikuláš Dzurinda’s cabinet, Economy Minister Jirko Malchárek and Culture Minister František Tóth announced the formation of a new party, the daily SME reported.

Both Malchárek and Tóth were members of Pavol Rusko's New Citizen's Alliance (ANO) party, which they left after a financial scandal involving Rusko broke out last August.

The new party will have direct representation in the Dzurinda cabinet through the two ministers.

Malchárek said that it was the right time for him to "pay his debts" and do something to raise the profile of a new party that would fill the void that ANO left behind.

"I want to show that I do not feel responsibility only towards the prime minister and my deputy faction, but also for the future of my potential voters," Malchárek told the daily.

According to Malchárek, the new party will not consist of "current politicians" but rather of managers and people from community politics. He added that Ľubomír Lintner, former deputy chairman of the ANO, who signed a cooperation agreement with the ruling coalition parties, the Hungarian Coalition Party, Christian Democratic Movement and Slovak Democratic and Christian Union, will not be a party member.

Reactions have so far been cautious. SMK boss Béla Bugár said it was unfortunate that cabinet ministers become engaged in founding new parties. SDKÚ Deputy Chairman Pavol Kubovič does not think that the new party will create complications within the ruling coalition.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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