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(BRIEF CHARACTERISTICS OF MAJOR PARTIES ACCORDING TO JURAJ MARUŠIAK, A POLITICAL ANALYST WITH THE SLOVAK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES)

A guide to Slovakia's main political parties

Smer - Relentless criticism of the current Mikuláš Dzurinda government, positioning itself as the main opposition party in the pre-election period. Partial modification of economic and social reforms to ease their social impact (especially that of the tax reform). Primary focus on domestic political issues. Left-wing party, a member of Socialist International.


HZDS - Dominated by the character of party leader and ex-PM Vladimír Mečiar. Party striving to overcome stigma from its authoritarian policies while leading government from 1994-1998, and to win international acceptance. If it enters the next government it will support the neo-liberal direction in economic reforms, and will not be interested in playing a decisive role in setting up the new government. It will focus rather on clearing its name and that of its leader, and to definitively halt the investigation of political crimes from the 1994-1998 period.


SDKÚ - Continuing in the current direction with neo-liberal reforms. It has promised to further lower taxes with a new emphasis on education, equal opportunity and building a knowledge-based economy. The SDKÚ, SF and ANO will compete for liberal voters.

SMK - Continuing its traditional policy of defending the interests of ethnic Hungarians, although trawling for Slovak votes as well by stressing its support for reforms that benefited Slovakia as a whole. Interested in remaining a ruling coalition member.


KDH - Pursuing a traditional conservative agenda. Stresses family and pro-life policies, rejects homosexuality. Supports social solidarity especially on the basis of the traditional family. Other priorities include law and order issues and Slovak sovereignty within the EU (such as over taxes, culture, etc.).


SNS - Protecting Slovakia's sovereignty within international organisations, support for young families, fighting crime. The SNS has declared an interest in controlling the interior and transport ministries.


SF - Attempting to woo dissatisfied former voters of the current ruling coalition. Calls for basic parametres of reforms to be preserved with partial modifications to the health care reform, where the party supports a stronger role for the state. SF supports cutting red tape, and fighting corruption and clientelism.


KSS - A far-left opposition party that under certain circumstances might support a minority government led by Smer. It is not interested in entering the government and wants to maintain its profile as a protest party.

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