The chairman of the HZDS party, Vladimír Mečiar, has called fake leaflets designed to appear to be promoting opposition presidential candidate Iveta Radičová as a provocation. The leaflets, which appeared on Thursday, March 26, night in several towns in southern Slovakia included a promise that Radicova will promote autonomy for ethnic Hungarians if they give her their votes in the second round, reported the TASR newswire.
“It's a straightforward provocation before the election, but I don't know by whom and in whose favour, as it doesn’t only allow for attacks against Radicova, but may also be a clever manoeuvre by her to slip clear of suspicion. But it also may be an intelligence play,” said Mečiar to TASR.
The HZDS chairman conceded that politics in Slovakia may again focus on national issues in the near future, adding that he expects national relations to be one of the topics in the run up to the European Parliament elections scheduled for June.
A president who uses problematic Slovak-Hungarian relations for his own ends, and in this way brings unrest and instability to society and divides it, isn't and cannot be a Slovak president, said opposition presidential candidate Iveta Radičová at a press conference in Bratislava on Saturday, March 28.
“After the events of the past couple of days, it's not about the April 4 (presidential) election anymore; it's about peaceful relations between Slovaks and minorities in this country. I view this situation as very serious,” she said in reaction to the dissemination of falsified leaflets. Radičová said that dividing voters and citizens of the country based on ethnicity, spreading fear among the public and using the ethnic-Hungarian issue disqualifies a presidential candidate.
“I'm calling on the Slovak president [her rival in the elections Ivan Gašparovič] to stop spreading fear among people, to stop dividing Slovaks and others [members of various ethnic minorities], to stop using the ethnic-Hungarian issue, and to publicly distance himself from such methods and denounce them,” said Radičová.
The head of Radičová's election team, Ján Füle, announced on March 27 that he will file a criminal complaint concerning libel in connection with misleading leaflets and advertising. He also asked all advertising agencies to refuse offers to publish such information.
Meanwhile, the -mrs- advertising agency hired by Gašparovič's election team has sent an order to the media to publish information claiming that Radicova has promised autonomy for ethnic Hungarians.
“The president has nothing to do with the leaflet campaign, and Radičová has missed the mark,” the president's spokesman Marek Trubač told TASR. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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