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Cablegate: Slovakia Political Roundup July 19, 2004

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BRATISLAVA 000684

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR MARR LO SW IZ
SUBJECT: SLOVAKIA POLITICAL ROUNDUP JULY 19, 2004

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED -- PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

Slovakia Prepared to Train Iraqi Police; Awaiting Invite
--------------------------------------------- -----------

1. (SBU) The Slovak military police have prepared a two to three
month training plan for about twenty Iraqi policemen at the
military academy in Liptovsky Mikulas. MOD Desk Officer for the
United States, Jan Hradisky, said the military academy is ready
now; they are just awaiting a request from the Iraqis.

Justice for Rom after 4-year Delay
----------------------------------

2. (SBU) After four years of proceedings, Slovak courts
convicted Michal S., of severe physical assault against Alojz
Oracka, a 23-year-old Rom. Michal S. was found guilty of
attempted murder and theft, but was found innocent of committing
a hate crime. He was sentenced to ten years in prison and must
undergo treatment for alcoholism. He must also pay Oracka
430,000 SK (USD 13,350) for lost wages and long-term disability.
Oracka was attacked in March 2000 following a verbal conflict
with Michal S. The defendant attacked Oracka with a stick and
repeatedly kicked him. Oracka suffered severe head injuries that
left him unable to work. (Note: Slovak authorities do not
release full names of defendants.)

Charges of Vote Buying; People's Union (LU) Collapses
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. (SBU) Poloffs met with Vojtech Tkac on 8 July to discuss the
disintegration of the club of independent MPs and the status of
the People's Union (LU) party. According to Tkac, LU party
discipline was almost non-existent and at least one deputy
admitted to receiving money from the coalition for his vote.
Tkac added that Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, Minister of
Economy Pavol Rusko, and Slovak Nationalist Party member and
mayor of Zilina Jan Slota had enormous influence within LU. Tkac
said that he planned to join Robert Fico's Smer party in the
future.

4. (SBU) In a separate meeting on 8 July Rudolf Ziak,
unaffiliated Member of Parliament, claimed the LU ceased to exist
when he left the party. Ziak added that he was currently
negotiating with President Ivan Gasparovic to represent the
Democratic People's Movement (HZD) in parliament as an
independent MP. Ziak commented that he believes that Gasparovic
will be a good president for Slovakia, having known him since
their days in Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic
Slovakia (HZDS). He does not believe that Gasparovic will be
beholden to Smer or easily influenced by others.

Euroskepticism Among MPs
------------------------

5. (SBU) Poloffs met with Jozef Miklusicak of the Christian
Democratic Movement (KDH) and Peter Missik of the Slovak
Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU) in early July. Both MPs
were very critical of the EU constitution, claiming that it gives
too much power to bureaucrats in Brussels. Missik, however, did
not agree with Miklusicak on the KDH's call for a referendum on
the EU constitution. Rudolf Ziak also told poloffs that Slovakia
must remain vigilant that small countries remain sufficiently
represented in the EU.

Politicians Debate Swedish Priest's Comments on Homosexuality
--------------------------------------------- ----------------

6. (U) A Swedish court decision to sentence Pentecostal Church
pastor Aake Green to a month in prison for calling homosexuals an
"abnormal cancerous tumor in the body of society" had
repercussions in Slovakia. Interior Minister Vladimir Palko and
his Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) colleagues said it was a
case where "anti-discrimination legislation causes persecution of
people." National Council of the Slovak Republic [NRSR] Chairman
Pavol Hrusovsky viewed the Swedish court's verdict as an
unforgivable precedent violating freedom of speech. Justice
Minister Daniel Lipsic said the decision threatens freedom of
speech. According to Palko, Europe is starting to put people in
jail because they are speaking their mind. On July 13, Palko
told Swedish Ambassador Cecilia Julin that he disapproved of the
sentence given to the priest.

7. (U) Several politicians criticized Palko and KDH. Jozef Banas
of SDKU, said that parliament should examine KDH's activities
abroad. The New Citizen's Alliance (ANO) party argued that
Palko's move could impair Slovak-Swedish relations. NGOs
protested against KDH's statements and requested Palko's and
Lipsic's resignation. However, a group of about thirty
conservative intellectuals declared their support for the KDH.

8. (SBU) This incident will blow over soon, but illustrates how

the KDH is shifting ideologically towards more conservative
positions, reaching out to older and religiously conservative
voters. As a result, many pro-reform and pro-democratic voters
may be reluctant to support KDH, no matter how well its ministers
are doing in their posts.

WEISER


NNNN

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