Both Langoš and Čarnogurský have been close allies for a long time. "I know Ján Langoš for twenty or so years," Čarnogurský said. "Together we published Bratislavské listy, a periodical that opposed the old [communist] regime."
If voting records are also an indicator, Čarnogurský still thinks highly of Langoš, a former Czechoslovak federal minister of interior. "His participation and activities within the KDH parliamentarian club have been positive," the KDH leader said. "So far, in all politically relevant cases, Langoš has voted along our party's lines."
Perhaps that is why there is a certain optimism that the two rightist parties will find common political ground. "I believe that the KDH club will accept me as the DS chairman," Langoš said. "I will stick to the program approved at our last congress, that is, to try to accomplish a close alliance with the KDH, supported by a binding bilateral agreement."
That might be a little difficult, though. Čarnogurský has said the KDH intends to run for elections on its own. "We've run for all elections on our own so far, and we don't intend to change that," he said. "I think it's good to stress that in advance, so that little parties don't build on false assumptions." But he has not shut the door on the idea. "We haven't decided on a close alliance with the DS yet," Čarnogurský said, "and only the future can tell how close it will be."
KDH gains support
Čarnogurský attributed the surge to a sharp-edged and tongued strategy. "A radical policy always attracts more attention then a moderate one," he said. "A radical vocabulary was forced on us by Mečiar through his policies of kidnapping abroad, unjust privatization and impoverishing the citizens." When asked whether it is safe to confront one sword with another, Čarnogurský reacted: "Would you consider it safer if there was no party able to face Mečiar at all? The KDH is determined not to step back even before an open conflict."
Langoš also thinks it is important to rise up against the HZDS leader. "Mečiar's bolshevik-style policy, which is very effective in identifying enemies, causes fear," the new DS leader said. "Frightened people then turn to somebody who gives them hope that he can counteract this destructive policy." When asked who is able to develop such a power, Langoš was laconic: "In my personal opinion, doctor Čarnogurský - and me."
Answer the question Dr. Čarnogurský. Will the KDH join forces with other opposition parties or again go for it alone in the next elections scheduled for 1998.
With a little mathwork, it becomes clearer why a Langoš-Čarnogurský link could be enticing. Add Langoš's potential 9 percent with the KDH's current 14 percent - creating a 23 percent bloc - and one has the closest rival to the 29 percent that Mečiar's HZDS recorded in the October Focus poll.
But after twice playing a key role in toppling Mečiar, this time the KDH leader maintains that whatever power ratio in the parliament is created, his party won't try toppling Mečiar again. "It happened twice before and in neither case did it prevent Mečiar from winning the next elections," Čarnogurský said. "We believe that Mečiar will harm himself more by governing. The longer he governs, the better we will be off."
7. Dec 1995 at 0:00 | Daniel Borský