Leaders of the opposition HZDS party and other politicians have said they are ready to work with the new leader of the opposition Slovak National Party, previous vice-chairwoman Anna Malíková.
After a difficult week in which former chairman Ján Slota refused to recognise a vote which pushed him out of the party chair, Malíková's leadership was confirmed October 2 by 251 of 346 delegates at a Nitra party congress. The formerly 'macho' SNS party is now led by three women: Malíková and her two vice-chairwomen, Anna Slavkovská and Zora Klazarová.
Slota did not attend the rally, instead retreating to his private yacht in Croatia. As he has also been dismissed from his seat as chair of the Parliamentary Committee for the Control of the Slovak Intelligence Service, his official titles are now restricted to that of Member of Parliament and Mayor of Žilina.
Immediately after being elected, the new SNS leader said that her party's policies would remain largely the same. "We respect the rights of all people, but we also demand the fulfilment of obligations to society," Malíkova said. She added that she respected the Hungarian and Romany minorities, but said they must "act how society needs them to act." The party's affinity for the HZDS was also affirmed.
The new SNS leaders received tentative overtures of co-operation from other parties in the past week. Along with an expected show of support from the HZDS, offered by HZDS MP Jozef Tarčak on October 3, other less expected voices were also heard.
Though a traditional political enemy of the nationalistic SNS, SMK Hungarian Party Leader Béla Bugár said October 4 that he could negotiate with new leaders.
"But for us to talk to them, the SNS has to respect fundamental European values and can't act against human rights of any group of people in Slovakia. I wish all the best to Malíková in achieving such a goal," Bugár said.
KDH Chairman and Justice Minister Ján Čarnogurský also said his party is ready for constructive dialogue with the SNS, if it would be useful for Slovakia.
Due to violent threats made against Malíkova, the Nitra SNS rally was marked by strict security regulations. Reporters were only allowed to go to the bathroom with security assistance.
11. Oct 1999 at 0:00 | Daniel Domanovský