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IN SHORT

Smer says Mečiar and Dzurinda have a deal

MOVEMENT for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) boss Vladimír Mečiar and Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda have made a deal that if Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) candidate Eduard Kukan and incumbent President Rudolf Schuster make it to the second round of presidential elections, the HZDS would support Kukan, the Slovak daily SME wrote.

Smer deputy chairwoman Monika Beňová told the press that her party has information confirming that Mečiar and Dzurinda made a secret deal concerning their parties' support for presidential candidates.

SDKÚ spokesman Martin Maťko denied the claims.

However, on January 25, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Hrušovský told news channel TA3 that there are negotiations between the HZDS and SDKÚ.

Mečiar has been reluctant to tell the public whether he plans to run in the presidential elections.

When asked about the information at a press conference on January 27, Dzurinda refused to comment.

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