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Dzurinda purges SDKÚ

THE LEADER of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the country's largest opposition party, moved to expel 14 members on March 8 in what could be the largest culling of party ranks in Slovak history. It is SDKÚ chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda's most radical step as party leader, the SITA newswire wrote. Internal SDKÚ bodies must approve the decision, and are widely expected to go along with it.

THE LEADER of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the country's largest opposition party, moved to expel 14 members on March 8 in what could be the largest culling of party ranks in Slovak history. It is SDKÚ chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda's most radical step as party leader, the SITA newswire wrote. Internal SDKÚ bodies must approve the decision, and are widely expected to go along with it.

Dzurinda said that those facing expulsion had broken party rules.

The main rule Dzurinda is likely to be referring to is his instruction, issued at the beginning of this month, that the party should no longer air its dirty laundry in public, which he said allows the media to question its stability and dictate its agenda. A few days later, several members of the SDKÚ petitioned for a change in the party leadership.

According to the SDKÚ's deputy chairman Ivan Mikloš, the members who signed the petition, entitled "Time is Ripe for Change", are suspected of collaborating with the governing Smer party.

The expulsions include MP Martin Kuruc, Branislav Zahradník, who heads the Bratislava Public Transportation company, Valentín Mikuš, and almost all of the party's deputy chairmen.

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