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Slovakia: Ruling Coalition Boycotts Parliamentary Session

Bratislava, 26 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Members of Slovakia's ruling coalition today boycotted a parliamentary session that was to decide the fate of a deputy forced to abandon his parliamentary seat last year.

Frantisek Gaulieder quit Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's "Movement For A Democratic Slovakia" party in November last year and was forced to leave parliament one month later. Gaulieder has said he was dismissed on the basis of a forged letter of resignation.

Sixty-four deputies, all from the opposition, attended today's parliamentary session but were 12 short of a quorum. A statement signed by all opposition party leaders afterwards said the ruling coalition's attitude to today's session was proof of its disrespect for the constitution. Our Bratislava correspondent says after today's boycott Parliament decided to reschedule discussion of Gaulieder's case for tomorrow.

U.S. and European Union officials have criticised Meciar's government repeatedly over Gaulieder's case.