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Mečiar: SDKÚ prefers HZDS to Smer

THE FUTURE ruling coalition is likely to be a mix of the current coalition and opposition alliances, Movement for a Democratic Slovakia [HZDS] Chairman Vladimír Mečiar told the news agency TASR.

"It's impossible that [the 2006 elections] will bring in a new government that cancels out everything and starts over," the opposition leader said.

Mečiar blamed divergent party goals for lessening the strength of the current ruling coalition.

"The SMK [Hungarian Coalition Party] is going for autonomy. The KDH [Christian Democratic Movement] uses Inquisition practices. The ANO [New Citizen's Alliance] threatens to leave the government if the South Korean tire maker (Hankook) is not won over. And the SDKÚ [Slovak Democratic and Christian Union], pressured by the public and its own coalition partners, praises all activities, even those that are necessary to criticize," Mečiar said.

The new ruling coalition relationships of 2006, according to Mečiar, will be based on the balance of two groupings: SDKÚ-ANO and KDH-SMK. Independent MPs, including Free Forum members that support KDH and HZDS defectors, who in turn support the SDKÚ, will also play a role.

As for the HZDS's potential to work with current coalition parties, Mečiar says that the SDKÚ describes his party abroad as "more acceptable" than Smer, which allegedly wants to scrap all government-adopted reforms.

Mečiar complained that the media is singling him out for making deals behind closed doors. "For months there have been intensive efforts to link me to SDKÚ Chief Mikuláš Dzurinda based on imaginary secret negotiations and secret deals. In the meantime, there are effective closed-door agreements between the KDH and Smer that are kept under wraps."

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