Also both parties were holding enough seats for a blocking minority for adopting constitutional laws (blocking minority was 31 votes, ODS in Czech curia had 37 seats, HZDS
in Slovak curia had 33 seats).
became the most popular political party in Slovakia after the 1992 elections, securing 74 out of 150 mandates in the Slovak parliament.
54) The Slovak Spectator, HZDS
deputy walks out on his own party, 24 November 1996.
Following a summer 2003 parliamentary shake-up, the government lost its narrow parliamentary majority and controlled only 69 of the 150 seats; however, because of conflicts among the opposition parties, the coalition was able to remain in power with the tacit support of Meciar's HZDS
While maintaining a relatively stable economy, his ruling HZDS
has imposed harsh controls on the media and non-governmental organizations, sold off state land at ultra-cheap prices, overridden constitutional court rulings, thwarted a referendum on direct presidential elections, expelled a dissenting lawmaker from parliament, and limited Hungarian-language training for Slovakia's 560,000-strong Hungarian minority - over ten per cent of the country's population of 5.
In time their pragmatic economic interests are likely to prevail over the present HZDS
The creation of a coalition government in June with the populist HZDS
party, led by former President Vladimir Meciar, and the nationalist SNS, led by Jan Slota, has caused a measure of disquiet.
Is the still strongest party doomed to losing voter support in the years to come, and end up like HZDS
The districts had been established most densely in regions where the HZDS
(Meciar's party) enjoyed the biggest voter support.
Other casualties of the election included the HZDS
breakaway party created earlier this year by its number two, Gasparovic.
But when the polls close at 2 pm on Saturday, the count will soon reveal how big the likely coalition will be: if the four million registered voters scatter their allegiance widely, it may need six or seven parties to obtain a working majority, with all the internal frictions that would ensue; if the votes are concentrated so as allow the emergence of larger parties, a coalition could be formed by fewer parties - but at the same time this carries the risk of leaving HZDS
with a preponderant role in the formation of the new government.
Mr Meciar and his political party, HZDS
, have been repeatedly identified as key culprits in these failings.