PM continues a series of meetings

SLOVAK Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda is making use of his good contacts with top foreign politicians ahead of the June 17 general elections.

A meeting between Dzurinda and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will take place today during Merkel's brief three-hour visit to Bratislava.

Britain's Tony Blair paid a similarly brief visit to Bratislava in March, while the Slovak leader also met with US President George Bush at the White House in the same month.

Just a few weeks ago, José Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Commission, also visited Bratislava. All three officials expressed their sympathy with the Slovak prime minister and praised his government's reforms.

Last week Dzurinda flew to Paris to meet French President Jacques Chirac, the SME daily wrote.

British political analyst Karen Henderson said she considered these meetings as proof that the international political arena respects Dzurinda and his government, "which is in a sharp contrast particularly with the [Vladimír] Mečiar period [from 1994-1998]".

She said that these meetings could have an impact on voters as well, especially those that consider Slovakia's acceptance on the international stage important.

Sociologist and former Slovak Ambassador to the US Martin Bútora said that prime minister's SDKÚ party wanted to highlight its foreign credit through these meetings and attract voters who make their voting choices based on rational calculations.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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