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Slovak parties reach out to citizens on May Day

UNDER COMMUNISM, May 1's International Workers' Day celebrations were compulsory and attendance was closely monitored. Since the fall of the iron curtain, May Day has mostly shed its ideological connotations and now is more a time for local street fairs and parties.

UNDER COMMUNISM, May 1's International Workers' Day celebrations were compulsory and attendance was closely monitored. Since the fall of the iron curtain, May Day has mostly shed its ideological connotations and now is more a time for local street fairs and parties.

Despite the day's lessened significance, those with political interests still hope to use the occasion to help get their message out.

The ruling Smer party wants to give May 1 its previous significance as a time to honour labourers. Prime Minister Robert Fico and Smer's deputy chairs will set off on a tour around Slovakia starting in Bratislava on Saturday, April 28.

During the four-day tour, Fico will visit more than 10 towns to meet with voters, the party reported on its website.

"The Social Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) plans to celebrate the third anniversary of Slovakia's admission into the European Union on May 1," party spokesperson Martin Maťko told The Slovak Spectator.

The party will meet with people along Dunajská Hrádza, a popular bike path that runs from the Old Bridge to the village of Čunovo. SDKÚ head Mikuláš Dzurinda and other party representatives will get on their bikes to meet and talk with the capital's citizens.

SDKÚ MP Tatiana Rosová has submitted a proposal to declare May 1 the official commemoration of Slovakia's entry into the EU. Slovakia entered the EU on May 1, 2004. Rosová said this move would make sense not only historically but also symbolically, because Slovakia's accession, one of the most important events in Slovakia's recent history, was a result of the labour of all Slovak citizens.

"They understood that cooperation within the community and within the European Union is the best way to secure the peaceful and strong development of Slovakia and Europe," said Rosová.

The Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS) plans to celebrate May 1 in SNP Square in Bratislava. "These will be not celebrations at all," KSS secretary Jozef Artim told The Slovak Spectator. "We will highlight social issues." The party will also hold local rallies in some of Slovakia's regional capitals.

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