Ivan Šimko, former Defence Minister and critic of PM Mikuláš Dzurinda, formed a faction within the Slovak Democratic and Christian Democratic Union (SDKÚ) called the Free Forum. Former deputy of the New Citizen's Alliance Branislav Opaterný also joined the faction of seven SDKÚ deputies, daily SME reported.
From now on, the 28-member deputy caucus of the SDKÚ has an internal opposition. The members of the faction are Šimko, deputy speaker of Parliament Zuzana Martináková, Peter Bródy, Ľubica Navratilová, Zuzana Plháková, Tibor Tóth, Jozef Hurban, and Opaterný.
Šimko claims that he does not want to change the parliament's power structure, only to reform the SDKÚ. However, the members of the faction will vote independently of party commands.
Last week, Dzurinda said he wanted his opponent to remain within the party.
"Everyone has a right to their opinion," Dzurinda, who sacked Šimko after he refused to vote in line with party directives, claimed.
Šimko lashed out at the leaders of his party and claimed that "unhealthy conditions" rule the SDKÚ.
Šimko was removed from the top party post on September 10 at Prime Minister Mikulás Dzurinda's request. The PM lost confidence in Šimko after he abstained from a Cabinet vote on the recall of Ján Mojžiš from his position as head of the National Security Office.
Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
18. Nov 2003 at 12:12