MICHAL Kováč, Slovakia's former president, called on presidential candidate Vladimír Mečiar to give up his candidacy, a move that he said would show that Mečiar cares more for the interests of the country than his own.
Kováč was the president of Slovakia during the third Mečiar cabinet between 1994 and 1998.
Kováč suggested that Mečiar give up his candidacy, thus making way for Eduard Kukan, who ended third in the first round of the presidential elections on April 3 behind Ivan Gašparovič.
"If [Mečiar] does not make this step, the country's interests demand that we elect Ivan Gašparovič for president," the Slovak daily SME quoted Kováč.
Although Gašparovič was until recently a member of Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, Kováč thinks that he "was neither the initiator nor the organiser of a majority of decisions that provoked the concern of our partners in the EU and in the US," Kováč said.
The ruling MPs, however, do not expect that Mečiar will free his position for Kukan, the candidate of the ruling coalition's Slovak Democratic and Christian Union.
Viliam Soboňa from Mečiar's election team said Kováč's appeal was "erroneous".
Compiled by Martina Pisárová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
14. Apr 2004 at 9:50