MPs come – and go

THE RESULTS of the June 12 vote mean that the Slovak Parliament will this year wave goodbye to an unusually large number of long-term MPs compared to the aftermath of previous parliamentary elections. Some of those now facing political oblivion have been in parliament since the transition to democracy in Slovakia after the 1989 revolution. They will be replaced by a relatively high number of newcomers.

THE RESULTS of the June 12 vote mean that the Slovak Parliament will this year wave goodbye to an unusually large number of long-term MPs compared to the aftermath of previous parliamentary elections. Some of those now facing political oblivion have been in parliament since the transition to democracy in Slovakia after the 1989 revolution. They will be replaced by a relatively high number of newcomers.

Among those who had, until earlier this month, occupied seats in the Slovak parliament for all of its post-1989 existence is František Mikloško, who spent most of his time in the parliament as a representative of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) before leaving, along with a group of renegades around former interior minister Vladimír Palko, to found the Conservative Democrats of Slovakia (KDS) party in 2008. The party did not run in the 2010 election, spelling the end, at least for now, of this once-eminent Christian Democrats’ parliamentary career.

The election results produced a similar fate for all the MPs from the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), some of whom have been members of parliament or held other high positions in the executive branch since 1990. There will be no seats reserved for long-time HZDS leader and former prime minister Vladimír Mečiar or his closest collaborators, such as Tibor Cabaj or Katarína Tóthová. HZDS members who left the party after conflicts with Mečiar and had hoped that their newly-established parties might prove effective vehicles to return them to parliament have also found themselves out in the cold. This group includes Milan Urbáni and Zdenka Kramplová of AZEN and Tibor Mikuš of New Democracy. Both parties ended up with less than 1 percent of the vote.

MPs from the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) will also be missing from this parliament: only those who switched to the new Most-Híd party a year ago retained their seats. Others, including SMK leader Pál Csáky and his somewhat radical right-hand, Miklós Duray, will now be forced to observe events in parliament from the outside.



Young blood

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More than 60 of the 150 MPs who will sit in the newly-elected parliament are newcomers.

This is mainly thanks to the two new parties that are currently establishing parliamentary caucuses: Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) has 22, mainly new, MPs; and Most-Híd has 14 deputies.

However, there are new faces representing the longer-established parties as well. One newcomer to the smallest parliamentary caucus, that of the nine-member Slovak National Party (SNS), is a famous former ice hockey player, Vincent Lukáč.

Smer’s newcomers include some ministers from the outgoing government, including Finance Minister Ján Počiatek, Health Minister Richard Raši, and Labour Minister Viera Tomanová. The former head of the government’s press department, Braňo Ondruš, is another Smer newcomer to parliament.

The old opposition parties are also injecting some new blood into parliament.

KDH’s new MPs include Jana Žitňanská, Radoslav Procházka and Anton Marcinčin. The largest party of the new coalition, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), is now represented by Miroslav Beblavý, Eugen Jurzyca and former judge Jana Dubovcová.

The composition of parliament will change further, once the parties making up the eventual government make their nominations for executive posts, including ministerial positions. Some of these are likely to be MPs, who will then have to give up their mandates, at least temporarily. As things stand, 127 men and 23 women will enter parliament – meaning the number of women will have fallen by one from the previous term.

The youngest deputy is 27-year-old Andrej Kolesík, a Smer MP, while his oldest colleague is 71-year-old Rudolf Chmel of Most-Híd, who has served two previous election terms and also held the post of culture minister.

“I have returned to politics with a special task,” Chmel said, as quoted by the Sme daily. “Most-Híd has made its emblem Slovak-Hungarian understanding and cooperation, and since I’ve been moving in this area all my life, it seemed to me I should try and respond to this last challenge with action.”


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