AN OVERVIEW OF THE MAIN GOVERNMENT CRISES FROM 2002 TO 2006

A road with many bumps

* ONLY a few months after the government is formed, at the end of 2002, the KDH and ANO clash over nominations to the state-owned power producer, Slovenské elektrárne. The KDH accuses ANO of stacking the company with its own nominees.

* ANO Chairman Pavol Rusko calls on Interior Minister Vladimír Palko (KDH) to resign at the beginning of 2003 over the alleged bugging of Rusko's mobile phone. Palko blames the recording of one of Rusko's private conversations on the SIS secret service.

* In the spring of 2003, ANO proposes a revision to the Abortion Act, earning more protests from the conservative KDH. ANO argues for a special provision allowing abortions to be performed up to the 24th week of pregnancy in case of genetic defects. The issue remains before the Slovak Constitutional Court to this day.

* In the summer of 2003 the KDH sues Rusko for suggesting that controversial businessman František Mojžiš indirectly sponsored the KDH.

* In August 2003 Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda says that a group of influential businessmen, state officials and media - which he famously dubs a "skupinka" - is operating covertly in Slovakia against the interests of his SDKÚ party and of the state as a whole. The affair results in the firing of Ján Mojžiš, the head of the NBÚ Slovak security office, and the departure of Defence Minister Ivan Šimko from his post and the SDKÚ. Šimko and the SDKÚ's Zuzana Martináková leave the government a few months later to form their own party, the Free Forum (SF). Several former ANO MPs also join the SF. The government loses its parliamentary majority and is thereafter forced to shore up its minority position through ad hoc agreements with independent MPs.

* The beginning of 2004 sees a climax in protests by the SMK and KDH over how the minority government is operating. SMK Chairman Béla Bugár says that after Slovakia enters the EU in May 2004, Dzurinda should resign.

* In spring 2005 ANO calls on Education Minister Martin Fronc, a KDH nominee, to leave the government over his leadership of the ministry, and problems that arose during final exams that school year. ANO refuses to support Fronc's university reform, which calls for the introduction of tuition fees for university education. ANO later withdraws Deputy Education Minister František Tóth, an ANO nominee, from the ministry.

* At the end of July 2005 ANO Chairman Rusko finds himself in serious trouble after it is reported that while economy minister he signed Sk100 million (€2.63 million) worth of IOUs to a businessman active in the energy sector, which falls directly under the Economy Ministry. Two months later Rusko is fired as economy minister, and takes his ANO party into opposition. A group of former ANO members led by Ľubomír Lintner decides to remain with the coalition and continue with the KDH, SDKÚ, and SMK as a fourth coalition partner.

* In September 2005, although the opposition blocks the opening of parliament following the summer recess, Dzurinda's minority government finally manages to gain enough support to open the session. Accusations are rife that the government bought the votes of independent MPs.

* In February 2006 the KDH quits the ruling coalition when the SDKÚ refuses to back the Objection of Conscience Treaty with the Vatican, one of the KDH's most cherished priorities in government. Three KDH-appointed cabinet ministers resign, and Dzurinda announces he intends to seek early elections in June 2006.


Compiled from TASR

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