The fight over the post of director of the Nation's Memory Institute will be waged by two right-wing candidates: František Mikloško, an MP for the opposition Christian Democrats, and Ivan Petranský, a historian with the Matica Slovenská cultural organization and the candidate of the far-right ruling SNS.
Given that Petranský is not as controversial as his colleagues, and that the ruling coalition promises to support him, Mikloško's chances are minimal. And thus the Institute will probably wind up in the hands of the government, which doubts the justification for its existence, and more specifically of the SNS, which openly sides with the fascist Slovak WWII Tiso regime.
That the Institute was in trouble was clear from the moment the Fico government took power last July, as such a coalition could not have been expected to put up a strong candidate as head of the Institute, though a miracle almost happened when SNS boss Ján Slota said he was willing to support Mikloško as head of the Institute.
However, the Christian Democrats themselves were responsible for scuppering this plan, because they acted based on self-interest rather than principle. Mikloško steadily refused to give up his MPs seat, as Slota insisted, because it would strengthen the KDH faction around leader Pavol Hrušovský, and weaken the Vladimír Palko wing, which Mikloško belongs to. Hrušovský in turn supported Mikloško's candidacy because it would make things easier for him in the party. These power games were responsible for the KDH eventually backing away from Mikloško's candidacy.
Mikloško's stance is understandable, because the fate of the KDH is more important than that of the Institute. If the Palko wing wins at the party's upcoming spring congress, it will take the KDH more ideologically to the right, while if Hrušovský is re-elected, there are signs he might be more willing to join the current ruling coalition.
That's why the KDH dropped the leadership of the Institute at Slota's feet, muttering about lesser evils.
- Pravda, January 16
22. Jan 2007 at 0:00