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Dzurinda faces tough choice over Vatican Treaty

PRIME Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda, the boss of the ruling coalition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), faces one of the most important decisions of his political career.

Dzurinda must either approve the passage of the conscientious objector's treaty between Slovakia and the Vatican, or risk the collapse of his coalition government, the daily SME reported.

The ruling coalition Christian Democratic Party (KDH) said on February 4 that it would leave the government unless the cabinet approved the treaty at its next session.

"We're not putting any pressure on them, this is our free choice," said Pavol Hrušovský, the chairman of the KDH. Hrušovský argued that the government had made passage of the treaty part of its programme back in 2002, and that the KDH was now only insisting that its partners keep their promises.

Among other things, the treaty would allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions if it violated their beliefs.

The SDKÚ was expected to take a decision after today's meeting of its executive board.

According to Béla Bugár, chairman of the governing Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK), his party will likely support the Vatican treaty, but the decision on the government's fate is the SDKÚ's to make, the TASR news wire wrote.

The SMK and the KDH have seven seats in the cabinet, short of the majority they need to force the treaty through.

Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
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