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PRESS digest: PRAVDA DAILY

News item: Vladimír Mečiar, head of the coalition HZDS party, refuses to support the candidacy of Milan Čič for a seat on the Constitutional Court.


Coalition bomb
By Dag Daniš


The bickering between Vladimír Mečiar and Milan Čič has become boring, but they have a fascinating background. The struggle is not at all about Čič [President Ivan Gašparovič's head of office], but goes far deeper, and from Mečiar's point of view it is all about principle.

Ivan Gašparovič is pushing Milan Čič's candidacy for a seat on the Constitutional Court, together with PM Robert Fico. And why not, as Fico's Smer party and Gašparovič's HZD are from the same political stable, supported by the same sponsors (the name that is most often mentioned is Mečiar's former HZDS party member, Vladimír Poór). The problem is that this cabal used to be at Mečiar's side, until it betrayed him after 1998 elections, and steered its capital towards other political projects with better coalition prospects.

Mečiar's resistance of Čič is thus grounded in both political and personal reasons. Apart from this, many HZDS MPs would like to see Mečiar himself at the head of the Constitutional Court. Mečiar of course doesn't agree, because he wants to compete with the Gašparovič group for Gašparovič's current office - the presidency.

That is why the current conflict of interests may turn out to be so explosive for the ruling coalition. Mečiar has already told Fico that he will need Smer's support in presidential elections [in 2009]. Fico, understandably, has put him off, because Smer wants to support Gašparovič again, coincidentally the same Gašparovič who is a personal enemy of Vladimír Mečiar. Within this silent coalition struggle, the ambitions and future of Milan Čič are, understandably, irrelevant.

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