"Referendum nullified"

"The referendum... was nullified. The total number of eligible voters taking part in the vote was nil. The number of citizens who replied "Yes" and those who replied "No" cannot be assessed because no [valid] ballot papers were delivered."

Jozef Krumpolec, Referendum Committee Vice-Chairman

"With great probability this has ruined our last chance of being among the first contenders for membership in NATO and the European Union. We are really facing international isolation. The biggest responsibility for the worsening situation of our country...lies personally with...Mečiar. [Mečiar's ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia] should seriously consider whether the departure of the premier and the interior minister from political life would not bring considerable relief for our sorely tested land."

Michal Kováč, President

"Slovak President Michal Kováč deliberately merged two referendums into a single package. The wording of question number four directly referred to a supplement that the Constitutional Court had found to run afoul of effective legislation, so the fourth question could not be printed.... The opposition launched this scheme for a purpose, foiling a positive outcome on Slovakia's entry into NATO in the process. Hence, Slovak President Michal Kováč acted against the law. That is why the HZDS urges President Michal Kováč to hand his resignation to parliament."

HZDS statement

"HZDS is the only political formation in Slovakia that is for integration into EU and NATO. The opposition is against the integration of the country into the EU and NATO. (Interior Minister Gustáv) Krajčí, and the state government did not do anything wrong, but instead the opposition, president , and Constitutional Court are the causes that the referendum did not go as it was supposed to. We can only remember the lesson from this referendum, and we can try to improve the reputation of the country until October."

Vladimír Mečiar, Prime Minister

"By foiling the referendum, at least 500,000 people that took part in the petition were humiliated. This government has torn the foundations of the country. When such foundations, like the constitution are not upheld, the stability of the whole country is falling."

František Mikloško, KDH

"The way the referendum went, it blew away the last chance for the country to take part in the process of EU and NATO integration."

Pavol Kanis, SDĽ

"The reason why the referendum finished like this, is fault of the president. He should not have joined two referendums into one."

Jaroslav Paska, SNS

"The President made a mistake, he should not join two referendums into one. He did it because he was afraid that not enough people would come to the referendum regarding the direct election of the President."

Dušan Macuška, HZDS

"Although the government foiled the referendum, direct presidential elections are still in our interest. We want to try to pass a law in parliament about the direct election of the president. If that does not work, we will try another petition. I have called on Mečiar to step down because of what he has done to the referendum. The government broke international agreements. The government has no international authority which would provide economic and political security for Slovakia."

Ján Čarnogurský, KDH

"Elections, or referendums are like a little celebration in every country. People look forward to it, because they can express their opinion, but they did not expect what has happened here. It is a shame for all of Slovakia."

Róbert Fico, SDĽ

"In the last election I voted for Mečiar, but what he is doing now is terrible. It was a horrible way to cheat people that wanted to vote for the direct election of the President. I will surely remember that in the next election."

58 year old woman from Zvolen

"If half of the eligible voters had gone to the polls, with more than half voting in favor of joining NATO - which was 90 percent sure - we would have been invited in Madrid."

Vladimír Mečiar, Prime Minister

"The U.S. State Department views the government's conduct during this referendum as a step backward from the democratic record of free and fair elections in Slovakia since 1989."

John Dinger, US State Department Spokesman

"The position of the U.S. State Department spokesman can be deemed hasty and inappropriate. Generalizations contained in the position damage Slovakia and do not show a profound knowledge of the pertinent legalities governing the arrangement and carrying out of the referendum and those spelled out in the interpretation of the Slovak Constitution."

Slovak Government response

"With my resignation I want to signal primarily to Slovakia that the foreign minister cannot effectively seek to realize his goals in a situation when everything including vital international interests of Slovakia are subordinated to domestic fights for power."

Pavol Hamžík, former Minister of Foreign Affairs

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