Czech and Slovak left join forces for election campaign

CZECH and Slovak left wing parties are planning to work together closely in their campaigns ahead of general elections scheduled in both countries in June.

According to the SME daily, Czech PM Jiří Paroubek, the head of the Czech ČSSD social democratic party, has already promised to come to Slovakia several times during the election campaign to support Slovakia's opposition social democratic party, Smer.

On the other hand, Smer Chairman Robert Fico is to attend ČSSD rallies.

The cooperation was made possible last week when the Slovak parliament approved shortening the government's term by three months and staging early elections on June 17. Czech national elections will be held on June 3.

Previously, since the two countries split in 1993, their election cycles had not been synchronous, preventing such joint activity

In contrast to the political left, relations between Czech and Slovak right wing parties are not as cordial.

The Czech ODS party has chosen to cooperate with the Polish Right and Justice conservative party, and will even include some Right and Justice members on the ODS election team. The Slovak and Czech right wing parties, however, have different opinions on issues such as the EU and various economic reforms.

ODS Deputy Chairman Peter Nečas said that at the moment his party was not planning to cooperate with Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda's Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), because "the decision on early elections in Slovakia is rather recent".

SDKÚ Secretary Ivan Harman, however, said the ODS and SDKÚ will help each other "if we can".

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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