Re: Fine-tuning reformsm, Flash News, October 25, 2005-10-26
The government in Bratislava formed after the election in 1998 is now in disarray, stumbling from crisis to crisis and only recently surviving a parliamentary vote of no confidence.
Its leftist component is alarmed by the hostility of its core supporters to the government's strict monetarist policies and the resulting record unemployment.
Sensing the vacuum at the heart of the country's political system, HZDS leader Vladimír Mečiar has demanded early elections and the country's president is deliberating over the idea of calling a referendum to decide the matter.
This was not how it was meant to be. The coalition of conservative and leftist forces that won the 1998 election campaigned on a policy of bringing greater prosperity to Slovakia in the form of job creation, a vast house-building programme and increased wages. None of this has come about.
Such an economic programme could only have worked if it had been implemented along traditional Keynesian lines. But any informed observer of the Slovak scene could have told its starry-eyed electorate that Keynesian economics was not going to be on the cards.
Slovakia was welcomed into the club of aspiring EU members and once there it was obliged to pursue a policy of cutting public spending and setting high interest rates. The opportunity that might have offered the possibility of increasing state expenditure - revenues from privatization projects - did not materialize, and the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer.
31. Oct 2005 at 0:00