SO THE coalition is in crisis. Nothing new in that. It is in the nature of coalition governments for there to be loud and public disagreements, most often linked to personal ambitions.
But while the phone-tapping row between Pavol Rusko and the other leaders of the coalition parties is likely to blow over very soon, it marks a deep and long-term divide between Rusko, an entrepreneur, and the others, who see themselves as serious career politicians. Rusko remains very much the political outsider, despite his ANO party's membership of the governing coalition.
We may never know the truth of the phone-tapping allegations: Security services are by their nature secretive and, when challenged, economical with the truth. Politicians are also not known for their frankness. In a separate accusation, Rusko claims that Prime Minister Dzurinda travelled to the High Tatras to spy on him at Christmas. We can only guess at the reasons behind Dzurinda's skiing trip, during which he witnessed and later reported the unacceptable social behaviour of Mikuláš Černák, the alleged organised-crime boss with whom Rusko's name has been linked by some of his political rivals.
Regardless of where the truth lies in this very public bout of mud slinging, it all makes Slovakia look a less serious place than it should be.
27. Jan 2003 at 0:00