Vladimír Mečiar's most recent moves are a play [to create the possibility of a no-confidence vote in the current government] and bring about premature general elections. The HZDS chairman's last-minute enrollment as a presidential candidate is a part of this game too. The mellowed chief ideologist of the [HZDS] movement, Augustín Marián Húska, [recently] expressed this new game in his own specific way:
"The presidential elections must not be understood as some final point only, but more as a point on a route," he said. "Again we will aspire to have a majority of the nation incline towards a statemaking bloc and turn against the statebreaking bloc."
The political elite, especially those with the national-Christian wing of HZDS, are planning to use the advancing presidential campaign to move into action their party lines, rev up their organization structures, test some new tactical moves, and prove the possibility of broadening their electorate. Naturally, they also have in mind the best possible results in the direct presidential elections.
The minimum objective of these forces is to get Mečiar to a second round of the election, the maximum is his victory- or the narrowest possible failure in the final round of the presidential contest. We can be quite sure that Mečiar will not behave as a non-political candidate in the coming campaign, but as a leader of a tough opposition. His program will be pre-ordained by conclusions from the republic convention of HZDS, which will be held this Saturday (April 17).
It is most likely that a sharp criticism of both domestic and foreign policies of the coalition will dominate the convention. Faint efforts of HZDS to reopen political dialogue with the coalition, be it on the level of multi- or bi-lateral negotiations, have failed, which will make a great pretext for the movement to intensify confrontations in an attempt to win the power back for themselves. But it is questionable today whether such politics will have a real chance to succeed.
According to some sociologists, we are now witnessing a fluctuation in public mood. The Kosovo conflict has torn the Slovak social and political scenes apart. The social situation of the people in the widest range of the social strata is deteriorating, and the unemployment rate is dangerously nearing 20%. Along with this, the public is finding out more about the trespasses and consequences of the policy of Mečiarism... Will Slovak voters swallow Mečiar's bait again? What will be the reaction of coalition to Mečiar's campaign, which according Húska will be short but intensive? Will the coalition stick together or end up in a quarrel? Soon we will find out.
By Vladimír Jančura,
Pravda, April 13.
19. Apr 1999 at 0:00