Fico starts government talks with HZDS, SNS

ROBERT Fico started official talks on the formation of a new Slovak government yesterday by inviting the representatives of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS) as the first two in a series of negotiations that should continue today with other parties.

President Ivan Gašparovič has asked Fico to inform him of the preliminary outcome of the talks by the end of June, the SME daily wrote.

Emerging from separate talks with the HZDS and SNS, Fico said that there were no program barriers between his Smer and the two parties, and that Smer was interested in continuing talks with them.

Meanwhile, Vladimír Palko of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) was contacted by Smer deputy chairman Robert Kaliňák with an unofficial offer to form a government with Smer. Inside the KDH, however, there is disagreement as to whether the conservatives should join Smer.

Should the KDH agree to cooperation, it might encourage the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) to join the new government and thus keep the HZDS out of the new government. The KDH is firmly against cooperation with the HZDS and its leader, Vladimír Mečiar.

The government talks will continue with official meetings between Smer and the KDH, SMK, and the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union scheduled for today.

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