Bratislava, 31 May 2002 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) has warned against the return to power of Vladimir Meciar after parliamentary elections in Slovakia slated for September. Voinovich said after talks in Bratislava with Slovak government officials yesterday that he is "delighted" with the progress Slovakia has made under Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda: "I am delighted that because of the prime minister's leadership and the values that he has subscribed to, in terms of market economy, in terms of human rights, in terms of rule of law, judicial system, and the very aggressive action that he has taken in terms of making the military comply with the requirements of NATO, that Slovakia is in such a good position to be considered for admission to NATO in Prague."
Voinovich said a return to power of Meciar and his party, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, could complicate Slovakia's entry into NATO. Slovakia is currently considered one of the favorites to be asked to join the alliance at the NATO summit this November in Prague.
As prime minister, Meciar was accused by Western nations of isolating Slovakia and damaging the country's chances of joining NATO in 1999. He was voted out of office in 1998 but has since gained popularity.