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President fronts up to media

SLOVAK President Ivan Gašparovič announced that he was prepared to face media criticism, providing the criticism is justified, SITA news agency reported.

"I will not get angry or offended at all, when you criticise me," said Gasparovič on September 13 at a meeting with media representatives.

He also said he would not challenge genuine criticism from the media, adding that he wanted to work in such a way that his activities would be positively received.

Gašparovič, the former member of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia who later left the one-time ruling party to form the Movement for Democracy, reiterated during the meeting that he was an opposition president noting, however, that "I am not an opposition president to cause problems for the government".

Analysts have agreed that Gašparovič's performance has been a pleasant surprise since he beat former ally Vladimír Mečiar for the presidency. Many originally interpreted the results as a vote for the lesser of two evils.

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