Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

ČARNOGURSKÝ, LANGOŠ MAY TEAM UP TO FACE MEČIAR

The right beefs up

On the November 18-19 weekend, Ján Langoš, a MP elected to parliament last fall on the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) ticket, easily took over the reins of the Democratic Party (DS). At the same time, the KDH at its own congress re-elected Ján Čarnogurský as chairman by 306 out of 308 votes. After the flurry, Langoš said that the two rightist parties could band together and muscle up for a new round of political armwrestling with Vladimír Mečiar. Whether it will happen remains to be seen, but it looks as if the KDH, while not exactly embracing the idea, was at least willing to listen. 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."


Ján Lörincz

On the November 18-19 weekend, Ján Langoš, a MP elected to parliament last fall on the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) ticket, easily took over the reins of the Democratic Party (DS). At the same time, the KDH at its own congress re-elected Ján Čarnogurský as chairman by 306 out of 308 votes. After the flurry, Langoš said that the two rightist parties could band together and muscle up for a new round of political armwrestling with Vladimír Mečiar. Whether it will happen remains to be seen, but it looks as if the KDH, while not exactly embracing the idea, was at least willing to listen.

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


TASR

One reason why the KDH leader may be a little reticent about skipping into an alliance has been his party's newfound popularity. An October poll conducted by the Focus agency showed that the number of KDH voters has jumped to 14.2 percent, up from the 10 percent that the party got in the 1994 elections.

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.
Daniel Borský

Langoš, who is still excited about the bilateral agreement with the KDH, is pushing hard to reunite the right wing of the Slovak political spectrum, probably because he learrned a tough lesson back in 1992. Then, the right-wing electorate was represented by three different parties - KDH, DS and ODÚ, which was what was left of the Public Against Violence (VPN) after Mečiar's HZDS departure. Thus fragmented, each party in the bloc suffered. The KDH got under 9 percent of the vote, while the DS and ODÚ each got only 4.5 percent, less than the five percent necessary to enter the chamber. Representatives from both the DS and ODÚ then retreated for two years into the newly established Permanent Conference of Civic Institute (SKOI). Last year, Langoš blew back into parliament after a successful ride on the KDH ticket. Now, becoming the leader of the DS, Langoš came back strong. He believes he can attract that potential 9 percent left from the 1992 vote.

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."

Top stories

Product quality laid on the EU table

Concerns over the different quality of same brand products are confirmed, but will anything change soon?

Will shopping in supermarkets soon become a thing of the past?

Everton beats Ružomberok Video

But the victory was narrow.

Peter Maslo (front) and Davy Klaassen (back)

Foreigners: Events in Bratislava Video

Tips for performances and other events in the capital between July 28 and August 6, including concerts, parties, festivals, classical music, inline skating, exhibitions and more.

Folk Painting Vajnory, Stamp

Education minister fails to explain distribution of EU money

The opposition parties plan to initiate a no-confidence vote, the second against this minister.

Education Minister Peter Plavčan