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Mečiar does not want to leave

THE MOVEMENT for a Democratic Slovakia's (HZDS) chairman Vladimír Mečiar will undergo heart surgery soon. Despite health concerns, however, he is not planning on leaving politics, say his party peers.

Political analysts think that if Mečiar left the scene, his party would suffer bitter consequences and predict that the party would lose a lot of voters as a result, the Sme daily wrote.

"The whole movement depends on him," said political analyst Miroslav Kusý, who thinks that the HZDS is a pragmatic rather than a program party, and that it is closely connected with its leader and would change its priorities according to his will.

An HZDS without Mečiar could also become an attractive target for Robert Fico's Smer and the other ruling coalition member, the Slovak National Party.

On the other hand, however, if Mečiar left politics the situation on the political scene might calm down for a short time.

According to Grigorij Mesežnikov, the head of the Institute for Public Affairs think tank, it was Mečiar who provoked many of the recent conflicts between his HZDS and the strongest ruling party Smer.

However, at the same time the relations in the coalition could also worsen as an HZDS without Mečiar could become more acceptable for opposition parties. The Christian Democratic Movement in particular says that it could see itself cooperating with HZDS if it didn't have its current chairman.

Political analysts warn, however, that these are mere speculations and that the chances of Mečiar leaving politics are small.

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