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NEWS BRIEFS

Mečiar an election issue only for West

A SCANDAL over a luxury villa and the departure of a group of his closest political supporters to found a new party have damaged former PM Vladimír Mečiar's election hopes so much that his possible return has ceased to be an election campaign issue in Slovakia, wrote the daily Sme.

Mečiar's HZDS party, after ruling the polls for over a decade, has recently fallen to second place behind Robert Fico's Smer, and is not expected to play a role in the government formed after September 20-21 elections.

The daily noted that foreign media continued to focus on Mečiar's possible return to power as a major political risk for Slovakia, adding the media were basing their stories on repeated warnings by Western diplomats that Slovakia could not expect to enter Nato or the European Union with Mečiar in government.

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