People's Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia

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People's Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia
Ľudová strana – Hnutie za demokratické Slovensko
First leaderVladimír Mečiar
Last leaderCollective leadership
FounderVladimír Mečiar
Founded27 April 1991
Dissolved11 January 2014
Split fromPublic Against Violence
Succeeded byParty of Democratic Slovakia
HeadquartersTomášikova 32/A, Bratislava
Youth wingDemocratic Youth Forum
Membership (1990s)"circa 40,000"[1]
Political positionSyncretic[12]
European affiliationEuropean Democratic Party (2009–2014)
International affiliationAlliance of Democrats
European Parliament groupAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (2009–2014)
Colours  Blue
Anthem"Vivat Slovakia"
Former headquarters of the ĽS-HZDS political party at Tomášikova Street 32/A in Bratislava

The Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (Slovak: Hnutie za demokratické Slovensko, HZDS), later known as the People's Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (Slovak: Ľudová strana – Hnutie za demokratické Slovensko, ĽS–HZDS), was a populist[2][3][4][5] political party in Slovakia. The party is commonly considered as having been authoritarian and illiberal.[13][14][15]

During 1992–1998, HDZS was the leading party of the government, led by Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar. The party rule was characterized by a fundamental violation of civil liberties, rule of law and a halt to post-communist economic reforms, European integration.[16][17][18][19]

After 1998 parliamentary election, the party remained in opposition for two terms still as the strongest party.[20][21] In opposition, HZDS moved its positions from Euroscepticism to pro-Europeanism and joined European Democratic Party, although it did not profess EDP's liberal ideology.[22] In the 2006 parliamentary election, the party dropped to 5th place and became a junior partner in the Fico's First Cabinet.[23]

In 2010 parliamentary election the party did not exceed the electoral threshold narrowly for the first time, and this was repeated in 2012, when it won less than 1%.[1][2] In 2014, HZDS officially dissolved and designated the Party of Democratic Slovakia as the successor.[3]


Velvet Revolution[edit]

The party was created as a Slovak nationalist faction of Public Against Violence (VPN), from which it seceded at an extraordinary VPN congress on 27 April 1991.[24] Called 'Movement for a Democratic Slovakia' (HZDS), it was led by Vladimír Mečiar, who had been deposed as Slovak Prime Minister a month earlier, and composed mostly of the VPN's cabinet members. The HZDS claimed to represent Slovak national interest, and demanded a more decentralised Czechoslovak confederation. On 7 May 1992, the HZDS voted for a declaration of independence, but this was defeated 73-57.[25]

At the first election in which it took part, on 5–6 June, the HZDS won an overwhelming victory, with 74 seats on the National Council: two short of an absolute majority. Mečiar was appointed Prime Minister on 24 June. Whereas the HZDS wanted a confederation, the Czech elections on the same day were won by Civic Democratic Party, which preferred a tighter federation. Recognising that these positions were irreconcilable, the National Council voted for Slovakia's Declaration of Independence by 113 votes to 24,[26] and Mečiar concluded formal negotiations over the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

Dominant party[edit]

The party adopted a populist left-wing position economically,[27] and sought to slow the post-Soviet privatisation and liberalisation.[28]

In the first elections after independence, in late 1994, the HZDS retained its dominant position, winning 58 seats (the Peasant's Party of Slovakia won a further 3 on its list).[29]

Decline in opposition[edit]

Originally designating itself as a centre-left party, the party moved towards the mainstream right and, in March 2000, renamed itself the 'People's Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia' (ĽS-HZDS) to try to achieve membership of the European People's Party (EPP).[30] However, lingering memories of former anti-Europeanism, conflicting rhetoric,[30] and the presence of three Slovak parties already in the EPP prevented this.[31] The ĽS-HZDS then looked to the Euro-integrationist European Democratic Party,[31] which it joined in 2009.

The build-up to the 2002 election saw Mečiar exclude a number of prominent members from the party's list of candidates. Several of the excluded members, led by Ivan Gašparovič, split from the party and founded the similarly titled Movement for Democracy (HZD). The new party won 3.3% of the vote, eating significantly into the ĽS-HZDS's position, and contributing to it winning only 36 seats. By 2006, further divisions and splits had reduced it to only 21 MPs.

Back in government[edit]

In the parliamentary election of 17 June 2006, the party won 8.8% of the popular vote and 15 out of 150 seats.

Two ĽS-HZDS ministers were sworn in with the Robert Fico government on July 4, 2006:

In the 2010 election the party lost all its seats, after its share of the vote halved to below the 5% threshold for entering parliament.

Election results[edit]

Slovak National Council in the Czechoslovak Federation[edit]

Election year Leader # of


% of


# of

seats won

+/– Government
1992 Vladimír Mečiar 1,148,625 37.26% (#1)
74 / 150

National Council of the Slovak Republic[edit]

Election year Leader # of


% of


# of

seats won

+/– Government
1994 Vladimír Mečiar 1,005,488 34.94% (#1)
61 / 150
Result in the coalition with RSS, which won 3 of 61 seats.
1998 Vladimír Mečiar 907,103 27.00% (#1)
43 / 150
2002 560,691 19.50% (#1)
36 / 150
2006 202,540 8.79% (#5)
15 / 150
Decrease 21 SMER-SD–SNS–HZDS
2010 109,480 4.32% (#8)
0 / 150
2012 23,772 0.93% (#13)
0 / 150
Steady SMER-SD

European Parliament[edit]

Year Vote Vote % Seats Place
2004 119,582 17.04
3 / 14
2009 74,241 Decrease 8.97 Decrease
1 / 13
5th Decrease


Election year Candidate 1st round 2nd round
# of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall votes % of overall vote
1999 Vladimír Mečiar 1,097,956 37.24% (#2) 1,293,642 42.82% (#2)
2004 Vladimír Mečiar 650,242 32.74% (#1) 722,368 40.09% (#2)
2009 Milan Melník 45,985 2.45% (#5) Supported Ivan Gašparovič

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Majú pár členov, sú v parlamente. Ako u nás rástli a upadali strany". 21 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b Minkenberg, Michael (2015). Transforming the Transformation?: The East European Radical Right in the Political Process. Routledge. p. 242. ISBN 9781317549390.
  3. ^ a b Pytlas, Bartek (2015). Radical Right Parties in Central and Eastern Europe: Mainstream Party Competition and Electoral Fortune. Routledge. p. 145. ISBN 9781317495864.
  4. ^ a b Auer, Stefan (2004). Liberal Nationalism in Central Europe. Routledge. p. 133. ISBN 9781134378609.
  5. ^ a b Bergman, Torbjörn; Ilonszki, Gabriella; Müller, Wolfgang C., eds. (2019). Coalition governance in Central Eastern Europe. Comparative Politics (1 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 440. ISBN 978-0-19-884437-2.
  6. ^ "Pred 30 rokmi sa začala štiepiť VPN, Mečiar zakladal vlastné hnutie". 5 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Byl jsem pro něj selský nacionalista, vzpomíná Mečiar na Havla".
  8. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  10. ^ Hancová, Eva (2018). "Komparácia slovenských parlamentných volieb v rokoch 2012 a 2016 so zameraním na stranícky euroskepticizmus" (PDF) (in Czech).
  11. ^ " - - Mečiar HZDS do Európy nedostane". 8 June 2008.
  12. ^ Trencsényi, Balázs; Kopeček, Michal; Gabrijelčič, Luka Lisjak; Falina, Maria; Baár, Monika; Janowski, Maciej (2018). A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe. Volume 2 Part 2: Negotiating Modernity in the "Short Twentieth Century" and Beyond 1968–2018 / Balázs Trencsényi, Michal Kopeček, Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič, Maria Falina, Mónika Baár, and Maciej Janowski (First ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 251. ISBN 9780198829607.
  13. ^ " - Divoké 90. roky. Pozrite si zabudnuté fotky z éry mečiarizmu, kedy si štát robil, čo chcel". April 4, 2017.
  14. ^ Palata, Luboš (March 2, 2020). "Změna je na Slovensku třeba. Ale demokracie bývá pomalá" – via
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Uplynulo 25 rokov od únosu Michala Kováča ml., syna prezidenta SR". August 31, 2020.
  17. ^ "Príbeh Mečiara: Autokrat a zakladateľ štátu". January 21, 2018.
  18. ^ a.s, Petit Press. "Mafia na Slovensku - Príliš veľké sústo - diskusia".
  19. ^ "Exministerka USA kedysi o SR povedala, že je to čierna diera Európy". May 15, 2017.
  20. ^ a.s, Petit Press. "Kompletné výsledky volieb: Parlamentné voľby 1998".
  21. ^ a.s, Petit Press. "Výsledky parlamentných volieb 2002 - Voľby SME".
  22. ^ "ĽS-HZDS by mali prijať do Európskej demokratickej strany". October 3, 2023.
  23. ^ Gális, Tomáš (February 9, 2020). "Voľby 2006 – 2016: Ako Fico získal najväčšiu moc a dokázal vždy zlikvidovať partnerov". Denník N.
  24. ^ Archleb Gály (2006), p. 534
  25. ^ Bartl (2002), p. 171
  26. ^ Bartl (2002), p. 173
  27. ^ Whitefield, Stephen; Evans, Geoffrey (1999). "Political Culture Versus Rational Choice: Explaining Responses to Transition in the Czech Republic and Slovakia". British Journal of Political Science. 29 (1): 129–154. doi:10.1017/S000712349900006X. S2CID 155059839.
  28. ^ Elster, Jon; Offe, Claus; Preuss, Ulrich Klaus (1998). Institutional Design in Post-Communist Societies: Rebuilding the ship at sea. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-521-47931-8.
  29. ^ Krause, Kevin (1996). "Dimensions of Party Competition in Slovakia". Sociológia - Slovak Sociological Review. 1 (2): 169–86.
  30. ^ a b Szczerbiak et al (2008), p. 285
  31. ^ a b Henderson (2009), p. 4
  • Archleb Gály, Tamara (2006). The Encyclopaedia of Slovakia and the Slovaks: a concise encyclopaedia. Bratislava: Encyclopaedic Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. ISBN 978-80-224-0925-4.
  • Bartl, Július (2002). Slovak History: Chronology & Lexicon. Chicago: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. ISBN 978-0-86516-444-4.
  • Henderson, Karen (11 September 2009). "The European Parliament election in Slovakia, 6 June 2009" (PDF). European Parties Elections and Referendums Network.[permanent dead link]
  • Szczerbiak, Aleks; Taggart, Paul A. (2008). Opposing Europe?: The Comparative Party Politics of Euroscepticism Volume 1: Case Studies and Country Surveys. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-19-925830-7.

External links[edit]