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Who is Milan Kňažko?

MILAN Kňažko was born on August 28, 1945 in Horné Plachtince. He graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava and has had a notable career as a movie and theatre actor. Due to his opposition to the communist regime, Kňažko was the only artist who actually returned the title of “merited artist” in 1989. Kňažko has never been a member of the Communist Party and he considers it a fundamental problem when a former member of the Communist Party runs for president.

MILAN Kňažko was born on August 28, 1945 in Horné Plachtince. He graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava and has had a notable career as a movie and theatre actor. Due to his opposition to the communist regime, Kňažko was the only artist who actually returned the title of “merited artist” in 1989. Kňažko has never been a member of the Communist Party and he considers it a fundamental problem when a former member of the Communist Party runs for president.

In 1989, Kňažko entered politics as one of the faces of the Velvet Revolution. He served as an advisor to former Czechoslovak president Václav Havel and as MP in the Czechoslovak federal parliament. In 1990 he briefly served as the minister of international relations of Slovakia, and in 1992-93 he became deputy PM and Slovak foreign affairs minister.

After the break-up of the federation in 1993 he served as an MP until October 1998 and in 1998-2002 as culture minister.

He was one of the founding members of the Public against Violence (VPN) in 1989, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) in 1991 and the Democratic Union as well as the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) in 2000. Politically, one of the most discussed aspects of Kňažko’s past is his affiliation with HZDS, which Kňažko was involved with during its early years. However, Kňažko has washed his hands of any responsibility for helping Vladimír Mečiar into the prime ministerial seat. In 2002 Kňažko left politics and returned to acting. He served as general director of the private JOJ television from 2003-2007.

Kňažko is officially running as an independent candidate but he failed to collect the necessary 15,000 signatures in time to meet the tight deadline, so he was nominated by 19 opposition MPs. The main motto of Kňažko’s election campaign is: “There is much at stake again”, hinting at his role in the 1989 revolution.

Interviewing the candidates
THERE are currently 14 candidates in the presidential race scheduled for March 15. Ahead of the official election campaign, The Slovak Spectator requested interviews from the five front runners who top the polls, asking all of them identical questions about their strengths and weaknesses in the race, and their goals for the presidency if they are elected.
The current issue features interviews with candidates Andrej Kiska and Milan Kňažko, both independent. The last edition featured interviews with independent Radoslav Procházka and Pavol Hrušovský, the official candidate of the People’s Platform. Prime Minister Robert Fico, the official candidate of the ruling Smer party, declined the request, citing his busy schedule as the main reason.
Kiska and Procházka (both running as independents) and Hrušovský responded to The Slovak Spectator’s questions via email. Independent candidate Kňažko spoke with The Slovak Spectator over the phone.

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