Smer chooses SNS, HZDS for coalition government

THE SOCIALIST Smer party's top board decided unanimously yesterday to form a coalition government with former opposition parties the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS), stating that the cooperation would give the party the greatest chance of "enact[ing] a social agenda".

Unofficial reports said that seats in the new cabinet and parliamentary posts would be divided according to the parties' performances in the recent election. Smer will get 11 ministries and the post of the speaker of parliament; the SNS will get three ministerial posts plus a deputy speaker of parliament; and the HZDS will receive two ministries and a second deputy speaker of parliament post, the Pravda daily wrote.

SNS leader Ján Slota and controversial three-time ex-PM Vladimír Mečiar, who heads the HZDS, have been asked not to serve in any government or official state posts.

The parties should begin negotiations today on who will lead the government and what its program will be. Smer Chairman Robert Fico has said he would like to resolve these matters as quickly as possible, so parliament can be presented with a new government and its program by the first week of August.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports

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