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Slobodné Fórum party attempts comeback

ZUZANA Martináková was re-elected chairwoman of the Slobodné Fórum (Free Forum) party at a party congress in Bratislava on October 13.

"Free Forum is coming back on the political scene," Martináková said. "I am starting to work at full speed."

The Free Forum is a right-centrist party that aims to back liberal economic principles. It didn't earn enough votes to become a parliamentary party in 2006.

Martináková said her party is able to attract new faces to politics. She said she is also glad that new people are entering the party at a time when it is starting from zero again, the SITA newswire wrote.

The party can see itself cooperating with rightist parties on the economy and with leftist parties on social matters. Martináková said the Free Forum does not want to raise issues that divide society. But it also wants a government that does not punish successful people, which is the reality under Robert Fico's government, she said.

Martináková hinted that her party is free from the internal conflicts that kept it out of parliament in June 2006. The party gained 3.47 percent of the vote, even though early pre-election surveys gave it the chance to become a parliamentary party. It needed at least five percent to get into parliament.

The party was formed by Ivan Šimko in January 2004. Šimko split from Mikuláš Dzurinda's Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) at the end of 2003 following serious disagreements with the SDKÚ boss.

Šimko quit the Free Forum soon after the founding congress, at which he narrowly lost the party leadership to Martináková.

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