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SNS withdraws its demand to dissolve ÚPN

THE SLOVAK National Party (SNS), one of the junior members of the governing coalition, has withdrawn from parliament its proposal to dissolve the Nation's Memory Institute (ÚPN), which administers the archives of the communist-era secret police (ŠtB).

THE SLOVAK National Party (SNS), one of the junior members of the governing coalition, has withdrawn from parliament its proposal to dissolve the Nation's Memory Institute (ÚPN), which administers the archives of the communist-era secret police (ŠtB).

"It does not make sense to submit something to parliament when we know it would not make it through," explained SNS leader Ján Slota, the SITA newswire wrote.

Last month the SNS - which ironically nominated the ÚPN's current head, Ivan Petranský - caused a political upset when it announced it wanted to dissolve the institution, arguing that it has not been fulfilling its duties as defined by the law. It also said that archive documents have been lost at ÚPN. The SNS's initiative came a few days after the media published files, found in the ÚPN's ŠtB archives, about Slota's criminal past. As recently as January, Slota had been backing a plan to expand the ÚPN's competencies.

The head of the other junior coalition party, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), Vladimír Mečiar, said that a political agreement on the ÚPN's closure had existed for more than three months. He said the HZDS supports moving ŠtB files to the National Security Office, where he says they are needed on a daily basis.

The ÚPN collects, archives, and organises information and secret service and police files from not only the communist era but also from Slovakia's wartime period as a Nazi puppet state. It was set up under the previous centre-right government led by Mikuláš Dzurinda.

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