|Member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic|
Slovak National Council until December 31, 1992
Assumed office |
October 15, 2002
December 9, 1954|
Zlaté Moravce, Czechoslovakia
|Political party||Direction – Social Democracy, (PES)|
|Alma mater||Univerzita Komenského, Bratislava|
Boris Zala is a Slovak social democratic politician, a member of Slovak parliament and the current Chairman of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. He is also Assistant Professor at Constantine the Philosopher University (UKF) in Nitra and Chair of the Political Science and European Studies Department at UKF’s Faculty of Philosophy.
Education and Professional Career
Zala graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy of the Comenius University in Bratislava in 1979. After graduation he proceeded with his study of philosophy and received his PhDr degree (1981) and CSc degree (1995) from the same university. In 1981 he worked as journalist at Slovak Radio but was forced to quit the job due to political persecution and seek employment in various manual worker professions before he eventually managed to get a research job at the Social Development and Labour Research Institute in Bratislava in 1984. In 1990 he became head of the Secretariat of the Speaker of Slovak parliament and Lecturer in Philosophy at Comenius University, Bratislava. Since 2000 he has been Chair of the Political Science and European Studies Department at UKF’s Faculty of Philosophy in the western Slovak city of Nitra. He is author of six philosophy, political science and history monographs and has written dozens of research studies and papers dealing with social science issues. As a media analyst and political commentator he wrote hundreds of political analyses for the Slovak press and participated in or co-authored a number of media projects at Slovak Television (STV) and Slovak Radio (SRo). In 1988-89, Zala took active part in organising protest activities against the Communist regime and was one of the co-founders of Public Against Violence (VPN) – a broad civic movement established by democratic activists with the view of putting the country back on democratic track within the framework of the Velvet Revolution of 1989.
Political and Parliamentary Career
Zala became a Member of Parliament in 1990, shortly after democracy had been restored in the wake of Communist rule’s collapse in November 1989. During his first term in parliament he was President of the Social Democratic Party, Chairman of the Defence and Security Committee of the Slovak parliament and member of the supreme legislative body’s Presidium. In 1992, he vacated his post as Social Democratic Party President, to enable Alexander Dubček to assume that function. In 1999, he became a co-founder and Vice-Chairman of the left-wing political party, Smer-sociálna demokracia (Direction-Social Democracy). He was elected a Member of Parliament for the second time in 2002 and re-elected again in the 2006 parliamentary elections. In 2002-2006 he sat on the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and on the Special Oversight Committee for the Slovak Intelligence Service. After Smer-SD’s victory in the 2006 elections, Zala was elected Chairman of the Slovak parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and took over as head of the Slovak parliamentary delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Presently, he is a member of the Council of Europe’s Political Affairs Committee, of the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee) and Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly. He was also a member of the Convent for the preparation of a new EU Constitution Treaty. His political activity focuses primarily on foreign policy and EU integration issues and on dialogue between civilisations, both in the context of Slovak politics as well as within larger European and EU frameworks. Zala’s chief responsibility in his political party includes policy planning and strategy issues.
Boris Zala’s Smer-SD, led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, won the 2006 parliamentary elections with 29.1% of the votes and formed the current governing coalition. The party’s support among Slovak voters is currently much higher than in 2006, oscillating steadily around 40%.
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- Boris Zala (in Slovak)