Although Premier Vladimír Mečiar's ruling coalition enjoys only 34.3% of public support compared to 57.4% for the combined opposition, Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) has regained its position as the most popular single party, a poll released on May 6 showed.
Conducted by the private MVK agency among a representative sample of 1,302 respondents between April 20 and 27, the poll showed that Mečiar's coalition has slightly closed the popularity gap between itself and the opposition, trailing now by only 23.1%. In a similar MVK survey carried out between February 26 and March 3, the ruling coalition parties trailed the combined opposition by a margin of 30%.
But more importantly, Mečiar's HZDS has reclaimed the lead as the most popular single party, a title denied to it since last September, when the creation of the biggest opposition grouping, the Slovenská Demokratická Koalícia (SDK), shoved the HZDS into second spot. The HZDS now holds 24.8% support, while the SDK stands at 20.5%.
According to Slovak law, following Parliamentary elections, the President authorizes the party which has gathered the most votes to try to form a coalition government. Only when the strongest party fails in this task may the second strongest entity take over.
After its rocket-like launch in March, the Party of Civil Understanding (SOP) settled into fourth spot overall with 13.4%, trailing the third-place SDĽ by 0.7%.
According to the MVK, two eternal archrivals would also make it into Parliament in September - the Party of the Hungarian Coalition (SMK) with 9.4%, and the Slovak National Party (SNS) with 6.8%. The third government partner, the Association of Slovak Workers (ZRS) is again below the 5% threshold for Parliamentary representation.
The MVK reported that 11.4% of voters were decided not to vote (9.9% in March), while another 11.4%, who would vote, were nevertheless undecided (12.0% in March).
Slovak Voting Preferences
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21. May 1998 at 0:00 | Daniel Borský