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Slovak Governing Party Drops Meciar

September 29, 1998

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) _ Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar’s party has decided to nominate someone else to try to form a new government, party officials said Tuesday.

The decision to drop Meciar may not be enough for the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia to remain in power, after the combined opposition won a majority of seats in the Friday-Saturday voting.

Meciar, who ruled for six years as one of Europe’s few remaining autocrats, has been censured by foreign governments and cracked down on the opposition and ethnic minorities.

Interior Minister Gustav Krajci said Tuesday that Sergej Kozlik, the vice chairman of Meciar’s party, or someone else would be appointed to name a new Cabinet _ but not Meciar.

``There were internal talks that it will not be Meciar. We just have to wait for the official decision,″ Kozlik told Radio Twist on Tuesday.

Meciar attended a weekly closed government meeting Tuesday, but made no comment on the outcome of the elections.

A final decision on who will be the governing party’s candidate for prime minister will be made at a party congress on Saturday, other officials said.

Meciar’s party won the elections with 27 percent, but did not gain a constitutional majority. The party holds only 43 seats in the parliament. The party’s future coalition partner, the Slovak National Party, gained 14 seats.

The combined opposition now has a constitutional majority of 93 seats, enough to enact key legislation and change the constitution if it agrees on a new prime minister and government.

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