IN SHORTS

Nationalist parties back together again

THE SLOVAK National Party (SNS) and its offspring the Real Slovak National Party (PSNS) agreed almost unanimously to reunify at their joint congress on May 31 in Žilina, taking the name the Slovak National Party.

As expected, delegates elected Ján Slota, who had led the PSNS, leader of the reunited party. In the vote, former SNS boss Anna Malíková became a deputy chairman of the merged party, along with Dušan Švantner, Jaroslav Paška, Rudolf Púčik, and Valentín Švidroň. Originally, both nationalist leaders had said they would not apply for the top post, saying that would prefer to see new faces lead the party.

After the vote, Slota assured everyone present that with his leadership, the SNS would become strong enough to make it to parliament in the next general elections, and would reduce the power of the ruling Hungarian Coalition Party.

For her part, Malíková said it was important for somebody to hold the Slovak flag firmly in their hands after Slovakia becomes a member of the European Union, scheduled for May 2004.

The PSNS was formed in 2001 from a Slota-led parliamentary faction of the SNS that broke away from the party in protest at Malíková's leadership methods. Before the split, the party had attracted as much as 8 percent support. It will need 5 percent of the vote to reach parliament in the next elections.

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