"We want the Ministry of the Interior to publish a complete police report, which will confirm that the DU had more than 10,000 supporters...and is the most persecuted political party in Slovakia."
Ján Budaj, DU vice-chairman
Conflicting figures. An investigative commission led by HZDS Deputy Dušan Macuška claims that the Democratic Union (DU) collected less than the minimum number of signatures to run in the 1994 elections. The DU says police records prove otherwise.
A DU statement warned that the party's leaving parliament would result in the coalition acquiring the three-fifths majority it needs to make changes it has sought for months, the most notably being removing President Michal Kováč from office and changing the makeup of the Constitutional Court. "A change in the ratio of seats [in parliament] opens the door to [the coalition's] gaining total power in Slovakia," a DU statement issued after the findings went public read.
Jozef Moravčík, the DU's Chairman and the prime minister in the interim government that presided over the country from March 1994 to that December, was even more explicit. "Macuška has shown his respect for fascist methods of governing, just as Hitler gained total power by expelling other parliamentarians."
At issue is whether the DU collected the minimum 10,000 signatures needed to run in the 1994 parliamentary elections. The Slovak Election Commission, the Constitutional Court and parliament's Mandate and Immunity Committee in the last government have all ruled that the DU had legally acquired the minimum number of signed voters.
Am I hearng that correctly? Ján Budaj, vice-chairman of the DU, and his fellow party members dispute investigatory commission findings.
Sources familiar with events said that the case could go in one of two directions: the coalition will be satisfied by the damage done by the findings or follow the advice of Ivan Lexa, the chief of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) who showed up at the committee meeting. After Lexa, also a HZDS MP, heard the report, he asked that "after 'A' the committee should also say 'B'," implying that DU parliamentarians should be forced out of the assembly.
Majority members in parliament could do their things as well to keep the DU on the sidelines, Budaj said. "Voting appliances and microphones will be disconnected in all places where DU parliamentarians are seated. Some [MPs] will probably leave, some will be dragged out; it depends on the situation."
The controversy lies in the numbers. While Macuška's commission claims the DU got only 8,219 valid signatures, the police have reached a different figure after a five-month investigation into the DU sheets' signatories. Ľudovít Černák, also a DU vice-chairman, said he found out at police headquarters that 11,313 citizens had confirmed their signatures out of more than 14,700 people that the police checked during the investigation.
However, the number claimed by Černák is missing in the official report that was submitted by the mandate and immunity committee to Interior Minister Ľudovít Hudek. The report only contains the total number of who was checked, those who were not checked (over 700) and those who did not confirm their signatures (2,744).
Budaj said that even without the missing number of confirmed signatures, simple math shows that the DU had more than enough valid signatures to run in the elections, and thus to rightfully stay in parliament. "Anybody with an average knowledge of math can figure out that there was more than 10,000 people who confirmed their signatures, and that they were not forged," he said. "But that's not satisfaction for us. We want the Ministry of the Interior to publish a complete police report which will confirm that the DU had more than 10,000 supporters not only prior to elections but also today as it is the most persecuted political party in Slovakia."