Press Digest

Political turning point, economic dead end

"The important fact is that the opposition won and has a constitutional majority. Therefore they have an opportunity to pursue the changes they promised during the campaign. Obviously, the other fact is that opposition comes to power at a time when the economy is in dire straits. It is indeed some kind of turning point. We have had years of talk about Slovakia's bad political situation, as well as assertions that during Mečiar's government there was no democracy. On the other hand, we also had the fiction that economy was healthy. Nowadays, the hope for fresh developments with democracy has improved, but the economic situation is very difficult. The new government will have restricted competencies, and that will probably create some tensions between coalition partners."
Jacques Rupnik, politology expert for central and eastern Europe, September 28 in the daily Sme.

Peace versus health

"There are several reasons that a coalition of democratic parties might disintegrate in the future, and they are mainly economic. You can expect that an economic recession, growing unemployment and possibly also inflation will complicate our intergration to the European Union. Besides that, the government will have to answer questions posed by its left-wing elements - should it accept the necessity of unpopular decisions which might bring economic stabillization in the long term? Or shy away from solving those problems with radical economic therapy in order to keep social peace?"
Dušan Deván, independent SITA Press Agency, September 28.

"In their euphoria at the election results, all opposition people are shouting NO to the HZDS, NO to Mečiar. Mečiar wants to keep Slovakia for Slovaks. Who do the opposition want it for? [Four years of Mečiar government have left] no half-gnawed bone but a nice bone packed with the image of a successfuly developing Slovakia. Now this bone waits for for the vultures [of the opposition]. Democracy thundered above Slovakia. Whose destiny will it spell?
Jozef Gajdoš, Slovenská Republika daily, September 29.

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