IN SHORT

SDKÚ backs Radičová for president

THE SLOVAK Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) has proposed former social affairs minister Iveta Radičová to be the opposition's presidential candidate.

The SDKÚ leadership agreed unanimously on the nomination of Radičová for the presidential candidacy on November 13, the SITA newswire wrote.

MP and SDKÚ vice-chair Radičová accepted the nomination based on the wide support of her party members and leadership. But she will only run to be head of state in 2009 as a candidate of the whole opposition.

As a sociologist, Radičová thinks Slovakia is not yet ready to elect a woman to the head of state, SITA wrote. But she can help open the door to the possibility in the future, she said.

The Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) supports the idea of fielding a joint opposition candidate, and says it is ready to continue talks with the other two opposition parties over naming the person. SMK spokesperson Eva Dunajská told journalists on November 14 that the party would make its final decision at its national board meeting on December 8.

The Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) diasgrees with Radičová's liberal stance on issues such as abortion. It mentioned KDH head Pavol Hrušovský and EU commissioner Ján Figeľ as potential candidates.

Opposition party representatives were scheduled to meet on November 19 to continue discussions about joint presidential candidates and propose names that are acceptable to all three parties.

Radičová is one the most popular opposition politicians, and according to public opinion polls, she has the best chance of beating President Ivan Gašparovič in the presidential elections.

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