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Slovakia: Opposition Referendum Winning Support

Bratislava, 7 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - A leader of Slovakia's opposition and a deputy in Parliament, Ivan Simko, has announced that more than 300,000 signatures have been collected for the petition drive demanding a referendum on direct presidential elections.

Just 50,000 more signatures will be needed to call a referendum, which the opposition hopes to hold by June. Slovak media has said the petition drive is supported by President Michal Kovac, the Trade Union Confederation, the Catholic and Protestant churches, the Association of Slovak Towns and Villages, and the "Save Culture" forum.

The governing coalition, of which Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's party is the senior member, has opposed the petition drive.