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IN SHORT

Poll: Former spies should go

THE SLOVAK public believes that former Communist secret police (ŠtB) agents should leave public positions, according to an opinion poll taken by the MVK agency on behalf of the SME daily.

According to the survey, 82 percent of respondents want such people out of public life. The co-ruling Christian Democratic Movement, the New Citizen's Alliance and the Hungarian Coalition Party agree with the majority opinion, saying they do not want such people in their ranks.

The fourth ruling party, Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda's Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), will not take the files into account. Opposition parties Smer and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia are non-committal on the issue.

Ľubomír Plai, the head of the Civil Service Bureau, does not want ex-ŠtB agents in the service's ranks. He says they tarnish the civil service's reputation and threaten public confidence in its impartiality.

After the publication of ex-Communist secret police files by the state-run National Memory Institute, a number of people left their posts at the outset of the year. The first to do so was Deputy Construction Minister Ján Hurný (SDKÚ). Several MPs, however, including Jozef Banáš (SDKÚ) and Dušan Muňko (Smer), do not intend to give up their mandates.

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