CITIZENS (Slovak political party)
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CITIZENS (Slovak: OBČANIA, OBČANIA), formerly known as Alliance of the New Citizen (Slovak: Aliancia Nového Občana, ANO) and Free Word Party of Nora Mojsejová (Slovak: Strana Slobodné Slovo – Nory Mojsejovej, SSS-NM) is a political party in Slovakia. The party was founded in 2001 and it was part of the governing coalition in Slovakia from October 2002 to September 2005. It changed its name from ANO to SSS in November 2011, when Eleonóra Mojsejová a Slovak businesswoman and TV personality took over the party. Current president is Miroslav Mišánik.
The party was founded in 2001 as the Alliance of the New Citizen – ANO (the abbreviation ANO meant YES in Slovak). It was the first modern political party in Slovakia to consider itself to be a liberal political party. Its leader Pavol Rusko was also the founder and former owner of Markíza (the biggest commercial TV channel in Slovakia). Rusko at first thought to join the Party of Civic Understanding (SOP) which was part of the previous government, yet after some bad blood, around January 2001 Rusko decided to create a new political party.
In August 2002, Pavol Rusko claimed that the party is financed completely from his own money, and the money of his close friend, businessman Ján Kováčik who borrowed the party an undisclosed sum of money. Rusko estimated the cost of the political party to 25 million Slovak korunas so far, with an additional 15 million expected for the campaign before the Slovak parliamentary election, 2002. In the election, the party finished sixth, gaining 230,309 votes (8.01% total) and capturing 15 out of 150 seats in the National Council of the Slovak Republic.
ANO was a member of the government coalition together with SDKÚ, SMK-MKP and KDH from October 2002 to September 2005, when it was expelled from the coalition after disputes with both SDKÚ and KDH. The party remained in opposition until the next parliamentary election but a group of MPs around Ľubomír Lintner continued to support the government.
The following ANO nominees were part of the Second Mikuláš Dzurinda government:
- Deputy Prime Minister - Robert Nemcsics (16 October 2002 — 9 September 2003)
- Deputy Prime Minister - Pavol Rusko (23 September 2003 — 24 August 2005)
- Deputy Prime Minister - Jirko Malchárek (4 October 2005 — 4 July 2006)
- Minister of Industry - Robert Nemcsics (16 October 2002 — 9 September 2003)
- Minister of Industry - Pavol Rusko (23 September 2003 — 24 August 2005)
- Minister of Culture - Rudolf Chmel (16 October 2002 — 24 May 2005)
- Minister of Culture - František Tóth (24 May 2005 — 5 April 2006)
- Minister of Culture - Rudolf Chmel (5 April 2006 — 4 July 2006)
- Minister of Health - Rudolf Zajac (16 October 2002 — 4 July 2006)
In March 2003 an internal conflict started within the party between its leader Pavol Rusko and Economy Minister Robert Nemcsics and Deputy Transport Minister Branislav Opaterný. The party's regional organizations unanimously supported Rusko and the party's regional board meetings unambiguously called on both Nemcsics and Opaterný to abdicate from their positions and give up their deputy mandates.
In the parliamentary election of June 17, 2006, the party won only 1.42% of the popular vote and lost parliamentary representation. It did not take part in other elections and slowly fell into obscurity.
In 2011 the party was bought by a known Slovak businesswoman Nora Mojsejová who did not have to collect thousands of signatures needed by law to register a new political party. If a party, that is already registered changes its name, no signatures are necessary. Mojsejová changed its name to Free Word Party of Nora Mojsejová and entered the 2012 Slovak parliamentary election where she received 1.22% of votes, not winning any seats in the National Council but finishing ahead of long-time Slovak Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar's People's Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). In 2013 party changed its name to CITIZENS and new president became Miroslav Mišánik.
- 2001–07 Pavol Rusko
- 2007–11 Robert Nemcsics
- 2011–13 Eleonóra Mojsejová
- 2013–present Miroslav Mišánik
- "Pavol Rusko nevstúpi do SOP, Malchárek nevylučuje, že z nej odíde (Pavol Rusko will not join the SOP, Malchárek not ruling out his departure)". SME. 17 January 2001. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- "Kováčik: Rusko televíziu používal, nie zneužíval (Kováčik: Rusko used the television, did not abuse it)". SME. 21 October 2002. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- "ANO už Pavla Ruska stála 25 miliónov (ANO already cost Pavol Rusko 25 millions)". SME. 6 August 2002. Retrieved 24 May 2012.