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Slovakia: Opposition To Organize Nationwide Protest Today


Bratislava, 3 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Slovakia's opposition parties are planning a nationwide demonstration today to show dissatisfaction with last month's NATO referendum.

Christian Democrat Party official Juraj Kohutiar says the whistle- and horn-blowing demonstration is intended to show discontent with the referendum on NATO membership and direct presidential elections.

Slovaks went to the polls May 23 and 24, but turnout was so low the referendum was declared invalid. Opposition parties had urged voters to mark only valid ballots, or those which listed four questions -- three on NATO membership and a fourth on direct election of the president.

European Union Commissioner Hans Van Den Broek has questioned the government's handling of the referendum. Slovak President Michal Kovac said the failed referendum dooms Slovakia's chances for early EU or NATO membership.
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