Slovakia: 2002 Elections Page: 1 of 6
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Order Code RS21265
Updated November 7, 2002
CR8 Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Slovakia: 2002 Elections
Julie Kim and Carl Ek
Specialists in International Relations
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
In their recent parliamentary elections, Slovaks surprised most outside observers
by renewing the mandate of Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda and providing him with
a more coherent governing coalition. The outcome may prove decisive in determining
the country's foreign policy outlook. Slovakia is among the nine countries bidding for
invitations to join NATO at the alliance's November 2002 Prague summit, and the ten
leading candidate countries for European Union membership. Although no formal
decision has yet been made on the selection of NATO candidate countries, U.S. and
allied officials made clear during the months leading up to the election that a return to
power of former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar or his party, the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia, would likely preclude an invitation to Slovakia at Prague.
NATO's enlargement will be subject to Senate ratification. This report may be updated
as events warrant.
Recent Political and Economic Situation
During its first decade as an independent state (since January 1993), Slovakia has
undergone dramatic shifts in political leadership. Through much of the 1990s,
authoritarian leader Vladimir Meciar remained at the helm of Slovakia's government.
Meciar's controversial domestic and foreign policies left Slovakia internationally isolated
and behind the Czech Republic and other central European countries as they advanced
toward joining NATO and the European Union. During Meciar's term in office, U.S. and
European officials frequently expressed concerns about the Slovak government's
democratic shortcomings, mainly stemming from Meciar's abuse of power. In the 1998
elections, a broad coalition of parties collectively defeated Meciar and his party, the
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HzDS). During the period leading up to the recent
2002 elections, many observers expressed concern that Meciar and his party might return
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Slovakia: 2002 Elections, report, November 7, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc808659/m1/1/: accessed November 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.