Slovakia: 2002 Elections Page: 2 of 6
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to power, just as the country was being
admission into NATO and the EU.
After the 1998 elections, the government led by
Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda was comprised of a
broad spectrum of parties that had joined forces to block
Meciar. The coalition included Dzurinda's Slovak
Christian and Democratic Union (SDKU), the Christian
Democratic Movement (KDH), the Party of the
Democratic left (SDL), the Party of Civic Understanding
(SOP), and the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK).
Meciar's HzDS party won the single largest share of
votes and seats in parliament in 1998, but could not form
a majority coalition.
The first Dzurinda government worked to restore
Slovakia's good international standing and especially to
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advance relations and accession
prospects with the EU and NATO. However, its tenure in office was difficult - wrought
with disputes and divisions within the ideologically diverse coalition, and challenged by
numerous no-confidence motions from the HzDS opposition. It completed its four-year
term despite these tensions and steadily declining popularity.
Dzurinda's government stabilized the economy and launched structural reforms that,
in the short run at least, restricted growth, increased unemployment, and fed public
discontent. It was also plagued by high-profile corruption scandals, although it recently
developed an extensive national strategy to combat corruption.1 In a late June 2002 state
of the nation address, President Rudolf Schuster criticized the quarrelsome governing
coalition for proving unable to take more resolute decisions, resulting in delays in
privatization sales and administrative reforms. Schuster expressed concern about high
unemployment (nearly 20% of the workforce), problems in the health-care sector, and
growing pessimism among Slovak citizens. Slovakia's GDP, which rose by 3.3% in
2001, is expected to grow 4% in 2002, and the outlook for 2003 and beyond is favorable,
buoyed by increasing foreign investment and domestic consumption.2
The 2002 Elections
The Campaign. The 2002 parliamentary elections were held on September 21-22.
Some new parties had emerged since the last vote, while some parties then in parliament
were not expected to pass the 5% threshold for representation in the single-chamber, 150-
seat National Council. Voter turnout was expected to play a major role in the results,
since pre-election polls showed a large share of undecided as well as uninterested voters.
National elections operate under a proportional electoral system.
1 Global Corruption Report 2002, by Transparency International (non-governmental
organization). In the report's 2002 Corruption Perceptions Index, Slovakia ranked 52"d, the same
as the Czech Republic and above Romania, in levels of corruption.
2 Economic Outlook: Medium Term. DRI/WEFA. October 18, 2002.
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Slovakia: 2002 Elections, report, November 7, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc808659/m1/2/: accessed December 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.