Vladimír Mečiar

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Vladimír Mečiar
Vladimir meciar.jpg
1st and 3rd Prime Minister of Slovakia
In office
13 December 1994 – 30 October 1998
President Michal Kováč
Preceded by Jozef Moravčík
Succeeded by Mikuláš Dzurinda
In office
24 June 1992 – 16 March 1994
President Michal Kováč
Preceded by Ján Čarnogurský
Succeeded by Jozef Moravčík
In office
27 June 1990 – 6 May 1991
Preceded by Milan Čič
Succeeded by Ján Čarnogurský
President of Slovakia
Acting
In office
2 March 1998 – 30 October 1998
Serving with Ivan Gašparovič (Acting)
Preceded by Michal Kováč
Succeeded by Mikuláš Dzurinda (Acting)
Jozef Migaš (Acting)
In office
1 January 1993 – 2 March 1993
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Michal Kováč
Minister of the Interior of Slovakia
In office
11 January 1990 – 27 June 1990
Prime Minister Milan Čič
Preceded by Milan Čič
Succeeded by Anton Andráš
Member of the National Council
In office
15 October 2002 – 12 June 2010
In office
16 March 1994 – 13 December 1994
Personal details
Born (1942-07-26) 26 July 1942 (age 72)
Zvolen, Slovakia
Political party People's Party-Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (1991–present)
Other political
affiliations
Communist Party (Before 1970)
Independent (1970–1989)
Public Against Violence (1989–1991)
Spouse(s) Margarita Mečiar
Alma mater Comenius University in Bratislava

Vladimír Mečiar (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈvlaɟɪmiːr ˈmɛtʃjar]; born 26 July 1942) is a former Slovak politician who served three times as Prime Minister of Slovakia serving from 1990 to 1991, from 1992 to 1994, and from 1994 to 1998. He is the leader of the People's Party - Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (ĽS-HZDS). Mečiar led Slovakia to disengagement from the Czech Republic in January 1993 and was one of the leading presidential candidates in Slovakia in 1999 and 2004. He has been criticised by his opponents as well as by Western political organisations for having an autocratic style of administration and for his alleged connections to organized crime.

Czechoslovakia[edit]

He was born in Detva in 1942 as the eldest of four boys. His father was a tailor, and his mother a housewife. His wife Margita is a medical doctor and he has four children. Starting in the Communist Party of Slovakia, the only road to prominence in Communist Czechoslovakia, he became committee chairman in the town of Žiar nad Hronom, only to be dismissed in the year after the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, when he delivered a pro-reform speech to the national congress in 1969 and was thrown out. A year later he was also expelled from the Communist Party and then added to the Communist Party Central Committee's long list of enemies of the socialist regime. He put himself through the Faculty of Law of the Comenius University while working in a glass factory.

In late 1989, during the fast-paced 1989 anti-Communist Velvet Revolution, he joined the new political party, Public Against Violence (Verejnosť proti násiliu, VPN), which was the Slovak counterpart to the better-known Czech Civic Forum. On 11 January 1990, when the VPN was looking for professionals to participate in the government of Slovakia, Mečiar was appointed the new Minister of the Interior and Environment of Slovakia on a recommendation of Alexander Dubček, who was impressed by Mečiar‘s thorough knowledge in all relevant fields.

After the first democratic elections in Czechoslovakia in June 1990, he was named Slovak premier (representing the VPN) of a coalition government of VPN and the Christian Democratic Movement. He advocated economic reform and continued federation with the Czechs.

In 1990 the political landscape of the Czech Republic and Slovakia started to develop and many new political parties were formed, mainly from the Civic Forum and the VPN. By the end of 1990, some of Mečiar‘s partners in the VPN began distancing themselves from him. First, the party split into two fractions in early March 1991: the Mečiar supporters (mostly members of his cabinet) and Mečiar opponents (led by the VPN chairman Fedor Gál). On 23 April 1991, the Presidium of the Slovak parliament (Slovak National Council) deposed him as premier of Slovakia and he was replaced by Ján Čarnogurský, the leader of the Christian Democratic Movement. Three days later, the VPN officially split in two: the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and the remaining VPN (since October 1991 called ODÚ-VPN, later just ODÚ). Mečiar was elected HZDS chairman in June 1991.

Dissolution of Czechoslovakia[edit]

In 1991 and 1992, there were frequent, but fruitless, negotiations between the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic concerning the future relations between the two constituent republics of Czechoslovakia. The winners of the June 1992 elections in Czechoslovakia and new prime ministers were the Civic Democratic Party led by Václav Klaus in the Czech Republic and the HZDS led by Vladimír Mečiar in Slovakia. Before and shortly after this election, the HZDS supported the creation of a looser federation—a confederation—between the two republics. However, its Czech counterpart wanted an even more centralised Czechoslovakia than was the case in 1992 or two separate countries.[citation needed] Since these two concepts were irreconcilable, Mečiar and Klaus agreed (after intense negotiations, but without having consulted the population in a referendum) on 23 July in Bratislava to dissolve Czechoslovakia and to create two independent states. As a result, Mečiar and Klaus became the prime ministers of two independent states on 1 January 1993.

Slovakia[edit]

After eight members of the parliament left the HZDS in March 1993, Mečiar lost his parliamentary majority. At the same time Mečiar's HZDS also lost the support of the president, Michal Kováč, who was originally nominated by the HZDS. However, it was only in March 1994 that he was unseated as prime minister by the parliament (National Council of the Slovak Republic) and the opposition parties created a new government under Jozef Moravčík's lead. However, after the elections held at the turn of September and October 1994, in which his HZDS won 35% of the vote, he became prime minister again - in a coalition with the far-right Slovak National Party headed by the controversial Ján Slota, and the radical-left Združenie robotníkov Slovenska headed by the colourful Ján Ľupták, a mason.

During the following period, he was constantly criticized by his opponents and Western countries for an autocratic style of administration, lack of respect for democracy, misuse of state media for propaganda, corruption (which is still prevalent today) and the shady privatisation of national companies that occurred during his rule. Privatisation during the 1990s in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic was harmed by widespread unlawful asset stripping (also described by the journalistic term of tunnelling).

At the same time Mečiar was at permanent "war" with the then-President of Slovakia, Michal Kováč. He was also blamed for having engaged the Slovak secret service (SIS) in the abduction of the President’s son Michal Kováč, Jr. — wanted on a warrant for a financial crime in Germany — to Hainburg, Austria, in August 1995, but his guilt has not been proven.[1] However, after Kovač's term expired in March 1998 the Slovak parliament was unable to elect a successor, so Mečiar also temporarily assumed the role of acting president. As president, he issued an amnesty for some of those accused of the abduction. As a result, Slovakia under his rule became partially isolated from the West and the pace of EU and NATO accession negotiations was much slower than in the case of neighboring countries, although Mečiar supported both EU and NATO membership for his country and submitted Slovakia's applications to both organisations.

Mečiar and HZDS narrowly finished first in the 1998 elections, with 27% of the vote. However, he was unable to create a coalition, and Mikuláš Dzurinda from the opposition became the new Prime Minister. Afterwards, Mečiar was one of the two leading candidates for the first direct election of the president of Slovakia in 1999, but he was defeated by Rudolf Schuster. In 2000, Mečiar‘s HZDS was renamed "People's Party - Movement for a Democratic Slovakia".

In 2000 Mečiar ostensibly gave up his political ambitions. His HZDS colleague Augustín Marián Húska said: "The NATO-War against Yugoslavia in 1999 was also a signal to us, to not pursue any vision of political independence anymore. We have seen what will happen to forces that want to be independent."[2]

In 2000, Mečiar was arrested by Slovakian police on charges of fraud dating from his term in office.[3][4]

Mečiar was heavily favoured to win the 2002 election, even though it was thought that if he became prime minister again, it would end any chance of Slovakia getting into the EU. The 2002 elections saw the HZDS score the highest percentage (20%) again. However, as in 1998, no other party was willing to serve under him. The result was another term in government for Dzurinda. The lower percentage of Mečiar's HZDS (20%) compared to the 1998 result was due to internal disputes within the organization shortly before the election, which caused many traditional HZDS members to leave the party. Some of them created the HZD (Movement for Democracy) party led by Ivan Gašparovič. In 2003, further traditional HZDS members left the party and most of them created the People's Union (Ľudová únia).

In the 2004 presidential election Mečiar again tried to become Slovak president, but he was defeated in the second round by his former long-standing ally Ivan Gašparovič. In 2006 Parliamentary election in Slovakia, HZDS suffered the worst election result in its history (8.79%), leading Mečiar to request an examination of the election results.[5] While HZDS became part of Robert Fico's coalition, Mečiar himself was not named to cabinet. He declined to get involved in the 2009 presidential election but also denied that he was considering political retirement.

In the 2010 parliamentary election, Mečiar's HZDS saw its vote drop to 4%, leaving it shut out of parliament for the first time in its history. In the 2012 elections, the HZDS saw its vote collapse to 0.93%, leaving it again outside of parliament.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Milan Čič
Prime Minister of Slovakia
1990–1991
Succeeded by
Ján Čarnogurský
Preceded by
Ján Čarnogurský
Prime Minister of Slovakia
1992–1994
Succeeded by
Jozef Moravčík
New creation President of Slovakia
Acting

1993
Succeeded by
Michal Kováč
Preceded by
Jozef Moravčík
Prime Minister of Slovakia
1994–1998
Succeeded by
Mikuláš Dzurinda
Preceded by
Michal Kováč
President of Slovakia
Acting

1998
Served alongside: Ivan Gašparovič (Acting)
Succeeded by
Mikuláš Dzurinda
Acting
Succeeded by
Jozef Migaš
Acting