Slovakia. At the end of August, Prime Minister Vladimír
Mečiar carried out a minor reform. He himself explained the
change with "personal problems, health reasons or other
difficulties". According to
Countryaah.com, external judges, instead, argued that the
government reform was created to restore the country's
democratic image. Thus, the US State Department's annual
report on human rights, "Country Report on Human Rights
Practices", was very critical of the situation in Slovakia.
And during a visit to Bratislava, Hans van den Brock,
European Commissioner responsible for relations with Central
and Eastern Europe, said he was "concerned about the need to
strengthen democracy in Slovakia".
A considerable loss of foreign currency was recorded. The
economic reforms and privatizations were almost set ablaze.
To reduce the government deficit, which reached $ 280
million in the first eight months of 1993, or 6% of the
country's GDP, the government cut spending on subsidies and
social programs drastically.
In April, the Association of Slovak Trade Unions convened
the workers for giant demonstrations in the capital in
protest of the authorities' failure to negotiate.
The pressure of the environmental movement forced the
Hungarian authorities to abandon the hydropower project
Gabtchikovo-Nagymaros, which was a collaboration with the
former Czechoslovakia. The project consisted of the
construction of two water reservoirs and a diversion of the
Danube River. The relationship between the two governments
cooled sharply as a result of this decision.
Another reason for the tension between the two neighbors
was the way in which the Hungarian minority was handled.
Although in June Parliament decided to allow the Hungarian
language into teaching, Meciar demanded the fulfillment of
an old law that forced Hungarian women to add the Slovak
ending "ova" to their Hungarian surname.
At the end of 1993, more than half of Slovak companies
registered deficits and the construction sector was reduced
by 60%. The country obtained a loan from the IMF, but it
only led to problems in meeting the demand for a reduction
of the government deficit, nor was it able to implement the
privatizations at the stipulated pace. In January, Slovakia
applied for NATO membership.
Jozef Moravnik was appointed prime minister in March 1994
after lengthy negotiations between the parties behind
Meciar's fall. Moravnik presented a plan to appoint a
national unity government and implemented drastic economic
The new government, composed of the Democratic Left
Party, the Democratic Alternative and the right-wing party
the Christian Democracy Movement, concentrated on two tasks:
the attempt to isolate Meciar politically and the
introduction of a Western democratic system. The internal
disagreements in the coalition significantly weakened the
government and it did not appear in the long term as a real
Meciar obtained 35% of the vote in the elections on
September 30 and October 1 of the same year. The government
coalition suffered a severe defeat and the Hungarian
minority parties formed a coalition that emerged as the
third largest political party in parliament. Meciar returned
to the post of prime minister and almost immediately halted
his predecessor's initiatives regarding privatizations.
The government of Meciar took certain initiatives to
limit Hungarian rights, without the supporters of a more
open course being able to prevent it. A campaign launched to
prevent the entry into force of a law that would only allow
Slovak as the official language could not gather the
necessary majority. The US and the EU warned Meciar that his
nationalist politics could lead the country into political