NEWS BRIEFS

SNS unable to decide about talks with Hungarians

After stating that the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS) would not hold talks concerning the state budget draft for 2000 with political representatives of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, SNS chairman Anna Malíková changed her mind on November 8, saying that the Party of the Hungarian Coalition (SMK) would be invited after all. However, on November 10, Malíková again changed her mind, telling Radio Tatry that the SNS and SMK "had nothing to discuss."

Malíková had invited the SMK for talks because, she said, the serious economic situation in the country called for an open and constructive dialogue between all political and social organisations.

Malíková added that she hoped discussions with the ethnic Hungarians would remain on a professional level, and that the talks might serve to "thaw the tense SNS - SMK relations."

Two days later, however, Malíková angrily took back her invitation. The SNS chairwoman said she was angry with the Hungarians because "the election programme of the SMK has a narrow ethnic and territorial focus. The SMK has no right to be in the government."

Malíková was also angry at Hungarian party boss Béla Bugár for asking that the preamble of the Slovak Constitution be changed from "We the Slovak nation" to "We the citizens of Slovakia." Adding fuel to her ire was a November 8 ceremony in southern Slovakia's Necpaly, where the Hungarian Ambassador to Slovakia laid a wreath at the memorial of General Gyorgy Lahner, a Hungarian hero from the 1848 Revolution. Such actions, said Malíková were "provacative and unacceptable."

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