The opposition Slovak National Party (SNS) decided on March 22 to field its chairman and parliamentary deputy Jan Slota as a candidate for the post of president. The party leadership passed this decision unanimously, with only Slota himself abstaining from the voting, SNS honorary chairman Viťazoslav Móric told a news conference.
In response to his nomination, Slota said he perceived his candidacy as a demonstration of "respect from my colleagues in their leadership." He added that the SNS understands his candidacy as its obligation towards Slovakia, which now finds itself in a bad situation as "[ethnic] Hungarian political parties are gradually taking control over politics in Slovakia."
A presidential candidate can be nominated by 15 parliamentary deputies or by a petition bearing 15,000 signatures. The SNS has 14 deputies and will try to win support for Slota's nomination from a deputy of another party. It will also start collecting signatures under a petition.
Meanwhile, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia has asked former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar to run for president. Mečiar, however, has so far rejected the overture.
Slovakia has been without a president since incumbent Michal Kovač ended his term on March 2 of last year.
29. Mar 1999 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA