The Slovak Spectator cornered Béla Bugár, chairman of the Party of the Hungarian Coalition (SMK) in his office and put several questions to him regarding the election campaign.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What is the main difference between the SMK programme and the programmes of the other parties?
Béla Bugár (BB): First, only our political programme clearly states that Slovakia's power and energy concept has to be re-assessed, because we think it's no good. Second, we recognize that because Slovakia is a small country, its opportunities are limited. The brains are here, but, unfortunately, they tend to drain out from the country because of the political situation. Therefore, much more money has to be invested into the Slovak Academy of Science and science in general. Speeding up economic growth, increasing social security, resolving the health care situation, improving school administration and education infrastructure - these are the main goals of the SMK. And self-administration [for Hungarian Slovak communities] in the fields of culture and education is also necessary, to avoid situations like we had when the current Culture and Education Ministries interfered in the education process and cultural events in such an uncultured manner over the last four years.
TSS: How is the SMK election campaign going so far?
BB: The campaign is going very well, and wherever we go, people say they appreciate that the three ethnic Hungarian parties have united. Moreover, people assure us that there is no need to promote party rallies because people spread the word among themselves and come spontaneously to meet us.
TSS: Have nationalist issues had any influence on the SMK campaign?
BB: The anti-Hungarian campaign of our adversaries, such as the Slovak National Party, has not worked, to my great satisfaction. Nationalist tensions have not yet played a significant role in the campaign. But there is one more week of the campaign to come, so we'll see. If the political climate changes after elections, however, I am convinced that nationality problems will not be exacerbated but instead will be resolved.
TSS: How would the SMK perform in cooperation with the SDK or other political parties after elections?
BB: Our aim is to participate in forming the government. This is our historic chance to relegate the current governemnt to the history books. We have to re-establish democratic principles in politics, and we all must prove that there are no real problems between Slovaks and the Hungarian minority, that all the problems the government coalition has been talking about are fictitious.
21. Sep 1998 at 0:00 | Ivan Remiaš