The Christian Social Union (KSU) was originally established in March 1992, splitting off from the KDH (Christian Democratic Movement), which had aimed to organize an all-encompassing Christian political party after the velvet revolution in 1989. The ostensible reason for the KSU's break from the KDH was a difference in philosophy - the KSU supported the establishment of an independent Slovak Republic, whereas the KDH was struggling to keep the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic united.
Today, KSU policy is similar to that of the conservative Christian Socialist Party (CSU) in Bavaria, Germany. The KSU wants to reduce the role of the state in business and to give more political power to the regions. The KSU has not been considered a serious party until recently, when they reached the four percent support mark in the Slovak Statistical Office's most recent citizen poll of party preference in October 1997. The KSU's declared support, most of which comes from eastern Slovakia and parts of the northwest, is now only a fraction less than the five percent necessary to be represented in parliament..
The chairman of the KSU is Viliam Oberhauser, former Minister of Forestry and Water in the 1990-91 government of Ján Čarnogursky. In an interview with The Slovak Spectator, Oberhauser explained his party's prospects.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What is your party's strategy to reach the threshold for Parliamentary representation?
Oberhauser: After the 1994 elections, 70 KSU mayoral candidates won office in towns and villages. Another 840 KSU members are represented in city parliaments. We have worked hard to build up a strong organizational structure and now we are one of the five best organized parties in Slovakia.
After organizing the party, we stayed in close contact with our voters, encouraging them to campaign for us. This has brought us better results in the polls. The theme that we feel strongest about is defending the public against violence, brutality, hatred, drugs, and sexual abuse. We are campaigning to ban such things from the public media, and are trying to assist citizens and NGOs in their fight to prevent violence, drugs and other crime from endangering our youth.
TSS: Is it true that you met and negotiated with Ivan Šimko and Mikuláš Dzurinda, deputies from the KDH, about your possible cooperation? What is your position on working with members of the KDH?
Oberhauser: The KSU is open to talks with anyone who is able to bring Slovakia and its people prosperity, who is committed to bettering the life of our country, around the world and at home. It is only natural that we are trying to negotiate with KDH members, but I don't want to publish specific names. The KDH, since becoming a member of the SDK (Slovak Democratic Coalition), has lost their Christian party profile. Many of their members are seeking another alternative. The KSU has always been ready to negotiate on strengthening Christian positions in Slovak policy. I think this is represented through the hopes of Christian voters. It's a pity that KDH leaders have destroyed all attempts to strengthen Christian policy in government.
TSS: What relationships do you have with "sister" parties abroad?
Oberhauser: The KSU takes cooperation with foreign groups very seriously, because it could strengthen Slovakia's position in the world. Therefore we have two vice-chairmen for foreign relations. FIRST NAME?? Racz is vice-chairman for foreign relations - he has good economic contacts with Germany and Austria. Peter Virsík is vice-chairmen for cooperation with Slovaks living abroad, which encompasses Slovak organizations around the world. Virsík is the vice-president of the Slovak World Congress (SWC), and the President of the Slovak-German Union (SNU-an NGO). These excellent contacts with Christian political parties in Germany and in other Christian parties around the world provide a good basis for cooperation. The KSU, thanks to the interest of German Christian politicians, holds important regular joint meetings that include regular training programs every year.
Our foreign policy and activities are being intensively developed. We would be very happy to establish good relations with the Republican Party in the United States, because we feel that our programs are very similar. We are positive that after the 1998 elections we will reach a new level in our contacts and relations with Christian and conservative parties abroad, as well as with Slovaks living in other countries. The KSU is preparing solid new projects in this direction to find the right place for Slovakia in the family of nations.
26. Mar 1998 at 0:00 | Fridrich Hláva