Fico signals post-election cooperation

Robert Fico, the chairman of the strongest parliamentary opposition party, Smer, has changed direction and is leaving the door open to the possibility of cooperating with any party after the elections.

In 2002, Fico stated several times that cooperation with Mikuláš Dzurinda and Vladimír Mečiar was out of the question. According to him, Smer has an eminent interest in a government with the lowest possible number of members.

"Large ruling coalitions cause troubles," Fico told news wire SITA.

But Fico now says Smer erred during the 2002 elections when it excluded specific politicians from possible cooperation, calling that policy "incorrect" and "illogical."

"We have to respect that political parties have their legitimate chairmen," he added.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) representing ethnic Hungarians in the current government said that the party sees no room for cooperation with the Slovak National Party, the Slovak Communist Party (KSS), or Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled for June 17, 2006.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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