Pavel Koncoš, 54, agriculture minister and newly elected Democratic Left Party (SDĽ) chair studied economy at Nitra's Agricultural University and began his professional career as the head of a farm in Klenovec in 1979.
He has defended agriculture farms interests ever since. Under communism he worked in the Agricultural Farmers' Union and later led the Slovak agricultural chamber.
In 1992 he became member of parliament and acted as temporary agriculture minister in 1994 after the cabinet led by Vladimír Mečiar was dissolved following a non-confidence vote in parliament. In 1998 when SDĽ joined the ruling coalition, Koncoš was nominated to the same ministerial post.
Although the former SDĽ head Jozef Migaš said Koncoš was the party's "most popular minister", Koncoš faced criticism from political analysts as well as some of the party's coalition partners.
In 1998 he refused to comply with a coalition agreement that a representative of the ethnic Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) should lead the Slovak Land Fund (SPF) state authority and even threatened to leave the SDĽ.
"I'll never support a Hungarian candidate to the post, not even if he was from Detva [pure Slovak village in central Slovakia]," he said.
In 1999 Koncoš refused to support one of the current government's pledges that the land of unknown or unidentified owners should be transferred from the SPF to municipal administration.
In 1999 after the Kosovo crisis broke out, Koncoš criticised the cabinet's decision to open Slovak air space to Nato and told the Slovenská Republika daily March 31, 1999.: "I'd be rather reserved now as to [Slovakia's] entry into Nato."
Most recently, Koncoš was criticised for refusing to make public the names of firms which received state funding from the ministry, totaling almost Sk10 billion ($204 million) and fed by taxpayers' money.
He said November 14 that the ministry did not publish such information in order to protect the farmers from extortionists and Mafia.
26. Nov 2001 at 0:00 | Martina Pisárová