Countdown for elections begins

EARLY elections in Slovakia will be held on June 17. The Slovak parliament yesterday approved a law altering the constitution to cut short the current election term by three months with the unanimous support of all 143 MPs present.

General elections had originally been scheduled for September 16. The changed date means that political parties now have only five weeks to prepare their lists of candidates for election.

The parties of the opposition also warned Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda that if his government tried to complete the sale of a 100 percent stake in the state railway cargo transporter, ZSSK Cargo Slovakia, they would recall the prime minister by a vote in the legislature, the Pravda daily wrote.

A privatization commission recently selected Rail Cargo Austria together with the Slovak J&T Finance Group as the winner of the tender, and recommended to Transport Minister Pavol Prokopovič that the consortium be proposed to cabinet as the final buyer.

Prior to an agreement between the coalition and the opposition on early elections, however, Dzurinda said that his government would not approve any more privatization decisions. However, Prokopovič has said he is in favour of the completion of the railway tender.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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