Michal Kováč

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Michal Kováč
Michal Kováč.jpg
1st President of Slovakia
In office
2 March 1993 – 2 March 1998
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Rudolf Schuster
7th Chairman of the Federal Assembly of Czechoslovakia
In office
25 June 1992 – 31 December 1992
Preceded by Alexander Dubček
Succeeded by office abolished
Finance Minister of Slovak Federal Republic
In office
12 December 1989 – 17 May 1991
Preceded by -??-
Succeeded by Anton Vavro (acting)
Personal details
Born (1930-08-05)5 August 1930
Ľubiša, Czechoslovakia
Died 5 October 2016(2016-10-05) (aged 86)
Bratislava, Slovakia
Spouse(s) Emília Kováčová

Michal Kováč (5 August 1930 – 5 October 2016) was the first President of Slovakia, having served from 1993 through 1998.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kováč was born in the village of Ľubiša in then Czechoslovakia in 1930.[2] He graduated from the present-day University of Economics in Bratislava and was a bank employee of the Státní banka československá and of other banks. As such, he spent some years in London and in Cuba in the 1960s. During the Normalization he was subject to some persecution.

Political career[edit]

During and after the Velvet Revolution, from 12 December 1989 to 17 May 1991 (when he resigned) Kováč was the Finance Minister of the Slovak (Socialist) Republic.

In early 1991, he was one of the founders and the vice-chairman of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. As such, he was elected as a deputy to the Federal Assembly of Czechoslovakia in 1990. After the 1992 election he served as the Chairman of the Federal Assembly from 25 June to 31 December 1992. He played an important role in the process of the preparation of the Dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

President (1993–98)[edit]

Kováč was elected president by the National Council of Slovakia in February 1993 (because he was a candidate of the biggest parliamentary party—the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia) and inaugurated on 2 March 1993. He soon became a strong opponent of Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar and by giving a critical presidential address to parliament in March 1994, Kováč significantly contributed to the deposition of the then Mečiar government and the creation of the Moravčík government (which only lasted until the next parliamentary election in the autumn of 1994).

In 1995 the Mečiar-Kováč conflict intensified and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia cancelled Kováč's (formal) membership in the party. In August 1995 Kováč's son, who had been accused of financial crimes by German authorities (the accusation was later canceled), was apparently kidnapped and taken to Austria. The president, opposition parties and Austrian court accused the Slovak intelligence service (SIS) and the government of having organized this kidnapping. The investigation of new secret intelligence service director Mitro and Slovak police after collapse of Meciar's regime in the end of 1999 confirmed the participation of SIS on this kidnap but the Slovak justice rejected the trial with its suspected actors because of amnesty (also called self-amnesty) issued by Vladimir Meciar on 3 March 1998.

Kováč's term ended on 2 March 1998. His candidature in the first direct Slovak presidential election, 1999 was unsuccessful. He was not very visible in Slovakian politics since this time and appeared only at a few symbolic events.

Health and death[edit]

On 10 July 2008 the Slovak media reported that Kováč probably suffered from Parkinson's disease. The former president did not confirm this information but admitted that he had some health problems.

On 5 October 2016, Kováč died from complications of Parkinson's disease in Bratislava, aged 86.[3]

Honours[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bartl, Július (2002-04-01). Slovak history: chronology & lexicon. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. pp. 181–. ISBN 978-0-86516-444-4. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "First Slovak president Kováč dies". The Slovak Spectator. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Michal Kovac, first president of independent Slovakia, dies at 86". Thomas Reuters Foundation News. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  4. ^ http://www.hospodarskyklub.sk/index.cgi?klub2001

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Vladimír Mečiar
as acting President
President of Slovakia
1993–1998
Succeeded by
Vladimír Mečiar
as acting President