Mečiar no longer a major problem

VLADIMÍR Mečiar, Slovakia's authoritarian former prime minister, and his opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) are unlikely to face such sharp criticism from the international community ahead of the June elections as they did before the 2002 general elections.

Unlike in the past, foreign diplomats today commonly meet with HZDS representatives, while Mečiar has taken pains to present himself as a pro-European and democratic politician, the SME daily wrote.

In 2002 the former US ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns, said that if the HZDS became part of the next government, Slovakia would not be invited to join NATO. Similar signals arrived through diplomatic channels from the EU as well.

This year, however, such warnings have not been repeated.

According to British political analyst Karen Henderson, this may also be because Slovakia no longer stands before a crucial decision in elections in terms of its future development.

"Not just the HZDS, but Slovakia too has changed, and there are no similar fears [as four years ago] in terms of the country's development," Henderson said.

Henderson believes that while Mečiar cannot be said to be acceptable for the international community, he is no longer unacceptable.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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