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Meciar announces bid for Slovak Presidency

Former Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar announced on 30 January that he will run for president in the country's April election, TASR and international news agencies reported.

Meciar, who is chairman of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), said he wants to bring "stability" to a country shaken by scandal. In response to a journalist's question, Meciar said that unlike in his unsuccessful 1999 bid, he should emerge victorious if people choose the "lesser evil."

Meanwhile, three additional aspirants to the highest state office submitted signatures on 29 January supporting their presidential bids, TASR reported. This brings the number of candidates officially register thus far to eight, according to TASR.

Other recently announced candidates include Stanislav Bernat, who is mayor of Martin; Jozef Kalman, who was a deputy premier in one of the cabinets headed by Vladimir Meciar and is now chairman of the extraparliamentary Left Bloc; and Banska Bystrica Mayor Jan Kralik, whose candidacy is supported by the now extraparliamentary SDL.

(RFE/RL 30.i.04)

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