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IN SHORT

Smer-HZDS government a distant possibility

A COALITION government consisting of the current opposition parties Smer and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) is regarded as a possible, if rather unlikely outcome of general elections on June 17.

According to sociologist Pavel Haulík, if Smer wins the elections - which it is likely to do as the front-runner in all recent polls - it will likely first approach the conservative right-wing Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) with an offer to form a government. It might even invite support from a third member of the current coalition government, the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK), or the opposition Free Forum (SF), the SME daily wrote.

According to Haulík, another scenario has Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda's Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) offering an alternative right-wing government, possibly inviting the HZDS to help form a coalition.

The sociologist said that if neither of these scenarios worked out, Smer and the HZDS might consider forming a coalition themselves, although it would "not be a very good solution for Smer in terms of international perception".

The authoritarian HZDS-led government from 1994-1998 led Slovakia into virtual international isolation, and the international community still has grave reservations regarding a return by HZDS leader Vladimír Mečiar to power.

Political analyst Miroslav Kusý said he was skeptical about whether Mečiar and Fico would find a way to cooperate.

"The conflicts between them are too strong, and Mečiar's reputation would also be a burden for Smer," he said.

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