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Schuster's decision on the referendum due on February 4

Slovak President Rudolf Schuster will announce on February 4 the date for a referendum on an early general election, initiated by the Slovak Trade Unions Confederation (KOZ) and backed by the opposition Smer party, news wire TASR reported.

Whether the referendum will be combined with the first round of Slovakia's presidential elections, scheduled for April 3, remains unknown.

However, the daily PRAVDA says it has information that Schuster has decided to link the presidential elections with the referendum on early elections.

Presidential spokesman Ján Füle said he already knew Schuster's decision on this matter. "But it would be unprofessional if I said it publicly before Mr President's personal announcement," he added.

Schuster suggested several times in the past that he did not see any problem with combining the two ballots.

Such a probability was strongly criticised by Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda and other politicians of the four-party ruling coalition.

According to the head of the Slovak Statistics Office, Peter Mach, combining the referendum and presidential elections would cost the taxpayers more than if the ballots were held separately.

The petition for an early general election, organised by the KOZ and signed by a record 606,352 people, was delivered to Schuster on January 13.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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