In Slovakia, two basic reactions to the Czech turmoil prevailed - praise for Klaus, which was based on various political motives, and anxiety regarding instability.
While claiming that it was not in danger of a similar funding scandal, Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) praised the qualities of Klaus, who with Mečiar had been jointly responsible for splitting the former Czechoslovakia. "The HZDS has always recognised Klaus's pragmatic approach, his openness and willingness to cooperate," the HZDS statement read.
Most opposition politicians praised Klaus for his decision to resign in the face of financial scandal surrounding his party. "The positive side of this [resignation] is that [the Czech government] set a moral limit for politics," said Ján Čarnogurský, leader of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH).
"It would be a pity if Klaus were to quit politics. He is politician on a big scale," said Jozef Moravčík, a deputy for the Democratic Union (DU) and a former Slovak prime minister.
"[But] the negative side is that one can expect a series of unstable governments in the Czech Republic," Čarnogurský continued.
In a rare display of agreement with Čarnogurský, the HZDS came to the same conclusion. "Neither the political nor the economic situation in the Czech Republic will become stabilized by the resignation of the Czech government headed by Václav Klaus," the HZDS statement read.
The Slovak National Party (SNS), a HZDS coalition partner, used the tumultuous situation in the neighboring country to paint a favorable picture of the situation at home. "Slovakia is the only island of stability among post-communist countries," said Anna Malíková, the SNS vice-chairwoman.
18. Dec 1997 at 0:00 | Peter Javurek