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IN SHORT

Communists want Nato referendum

THE COMMUNIST Party will push for a referendum on Slovakia's possible membership in Nato, even though the constitution does not demand one, in the hope that the slim majority now in favour of joining will produce a surprise negative result in a plebiscite.

The idea of a referendum is not supported by any other major political party, although a referendum on European Union membership is scheduled to be held in June 2003.

Between 50 and 60 per cent of Slovaks are in favour of Nato membership, according to polls. For the results of a referendum to be valid, it must be attended by more than 50 per cent of eligible voters.

If parliament does not ask the president to call a referendum, the only alternative to have the ballot called is to collect 350,000 signatures on a petition.

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