IN SHORT

HZDS on brink of crisis

VOJTECH Tkáč, deputy chair of the biggest opposition party, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), said he is determined to leave the HZDS and start a new party if he cannot change the party led by authoritarian former prime minister Vladimír Mečiar.

Tkáč said he had run out of patience waiting for democratic rules to be kept within the HZDS leadership, after a meeting of the party's senior council was cancelled because Mečiar said he was ill.

"A party cannot depend on the health of one person," Tkáč said, adding that discontent was widespread within the HZDS.

Tkáč accused the HZDS leadership of breaking its own internal rules, saying: "This is a situation where democracy inside the HZDS is, in essence, endangered."

Tkáč said he planned to address all HZDS MPs in the new year, to monitor their opinions of the party's internal workings, but did not want to estimate how many would join him in launching a new political group.

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