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NEWS BRIEFS

Bugár: Coalition rose to power on lies

BÉLA Bugár, chairman of the opposition Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK), has accused the current ruling coalition of having won power by lying.

In an interview with the SITA news agency, Bugár said that before the general elections in June, PM Robert Fico's Smer party promised to withdraw Slovak troops from Iraq immediately, but this has still not taken place.

The troop withdrawal from Iraq is expected to happen in March, 2007, although the government has pledged to leave some military instructors in place.

Bugár also believes that many of Smer's votes came from clients of the failed pyramid schemes Horizont and BMG Invest, which collapsed in 2002, because Fico promised during the election campaign to compensate them for their losses - something else the government has so far not done.

"We're talking about some 300,000 people. If Smer won over only 100,000 of them, that makes 15 to 18 MPs," he said.

In addition, Bugár said that the coalition has not kept its promise to maintain the status quo on minorities (for more, see comment on page 4). The amount allocated for this in the 2007 state budget has fallen to Sk80 million from Sk160 million in 2006 (€2.33 million), he said.

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