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Slovakia: United Opposition Seeks Leader

Bratislava, 4 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Slovakia's opposition party leaders are attempting to agree on one party chief for their bloc for next year's parliamentary elections.

Yesterday, five opposition party representatives signed an agreement to form the election bloc. Those parties included the KDH Christian Democrats, DU Democratic Union, DS Democratic Party, SDSS Social Democrat Party and the SZS Green Party.

After the signing, KDH Christian Democrats chief Jan Carnogursky said the new coalition is an "alternative" to the dominant HZDS coalition led by Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar.

In addition, he said that the coalition will offer more "qualified people," who can lead Slovakia out of what he called the chaos now marking Slovakia's political scene.

His sentiments were echoed by DU chief Eduard Kukan, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Democratic Union party.

Kukan and Carnogursky have emerged as possible leaders of the new coalition bloc. Yesterday, Carnogursky said that, in time, the new leader "will crystalize." Our Bratislava correspondent reports Carnogursky made it clear that he was very interested in the post. Carnogursky was Slovakia's premier during a brief period in the early 1990's.

Each of the five parties -- with the exception of the DS Democratic Party -- received invitations to round-table talks today with Prime Minister Meciar in Bratislava.

The opposition election coalition has been labeled by the media the "Rainbow Coalition," because it includes leftist, centrist and right-wing parties. The opposition coalition is pledging to form a joint list of candidates for next year's parliamentary elections.