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Mečiar's HZDS shrinks

TIBOR Mikuš, Trnava regional governor and an MP for Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), confirmed on January 25 he had left the party, which is a junior member of the three-party governing coalition. He said he disagreed with the policies of Mečiar's leadership, the ČTK newswire wrote.

TIBOR Mikuš, Trnava regional governor and an MP for Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), confirmed on January 25 he had left the party, which is a junior member of the three-party governing coalition. He said he disagreed with the policies of Mečiar's leadership, the ČTK newswire wrote.

Mikuš does not plan to join any party, opting instead to be an independent deputy, though he will continue to support the politics of the ruling coalition.

"I feel a part of the governing coalition," Mikuš told journalists, but he did not exclude the possibility of launching a new political party.

Mikuš criticised the party leadership for excessively increasing its powers, expelling dissident members and suppressing discussion inside the party. The straw that broke the camel's back was recently approved party rules, with which he does not agree, the SITA newswire wrote.

Mikuš has opposed Mečiar since last year when he put up an unsuccessful bid for the post of party leader.

On January 26, Mečiar said that Mikuš should return his deputy mandate. He reminded him that before the elections Mikuš had promised in writing that he would give up his deputy mandate if he left the party, adding that returning the mandate was a question of integrity, morals and ethics. "God bless him, I wish him a lot of success, but I am afraid that his ego will destroy him," Mečiar said.

Milan Cagala, a former economy minister, followed Mikuš and left the party on January 30.

"My decision has been ripening over several months," Cagala told the press.

He blamed last's year HZDS congress, at which people who had not been formally nominated were elected into party posts, while others who had not supported Mečiar's bid for party leader were excluded from leadership, SITA wrote. Later, the party leadership voted in party rules fixing leading representatives of the party in their positions for the next four years, said Cagala. He thinks that the HZDS needs a change at the top and that Vladimír Mečiar has nothing to offer the party or Slovakia.

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