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IN SHORT

European Socialists postpone decision on Smer

THE LEADERSHIP of the Party of European Socialists (PES) has postponed its decision on whether to prolong or end Smer's suspension from PES to October, PES general secretary Philip Cordery confirmed on May 9, adding the reason was "technical", not politically-motivated.

The PES presidency suspended Smer's membership in October 2006 for ten months for setting up a coalition with the controversial far-right Slovak National Party (SNS).

PES leader Poul Nyrup Rasmussen pointed out that the European Socialists, currently in the opposition in Brussels, did it in accordance with the so-called Berlin Declaration of 2001, according to which PES members must forgo political union or co-operation at all levels with any party that incites racial and ethnic prejudice or hatred.

The Slovak Prime Minister's spokesperson, Silvia Glendová, cast doubt on PES's position, saying if Smer's coalition with the SNS were really as gross a violation as PES was suggesting, the European Socialists wouldn't need to postpone their decision.

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