Mečiar: Slovakia no longer needs National Memory Institute

THE DEADLINE for applications to become the new head of the National Memory Institute (ÚPN) runs out today at 16:00 amid calls for the Institute to be disbanded, as well as for its next director to be as fierce an opponent of communism and fascism as its founder, Ján Langoš.

Vladimír Mečiar, chairman of the ruling coalition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) party, said yesterday that his party was not going to nominate anyone for the post.

“I’m convinced that the institute has already played its historical role,” Mečiar said. In his opinion, the ÚPN, which collects and publishes documents on the country’s communist and fascist past, should be moved under the wing of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and should have its budget cut.

The HZDS itself was founded in 1991 partly by individuals who had been pushed out of the Communist Party and the ŠtB secret service following the purges after the 1968 Prague Spring.

“This is my personal opinion, not the opinion of the HZDS,” Mečiar said according to the Sme daily. He said that he personally would not publish any more archive documents, and wonders whether those that have been published so far are trustworthy.

The HZDS’ coalition partners, the socialist Smer and far-right Slovak National Party (SNS), continue to support the existence of the ÚPN, however.

It is expected that several of the new candidates will come from the ranks of the ÚPN itself, while the SNS is to nominate one candidate.

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