The Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (Slovak: Hnutie za demokratické Slovensko, HZDS) was a national-populist political party in Slovakia. The party is commonly considered as having been authoritarian and illiberal.
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia
Hnutie za demokratické Slovensko
|First leader||Vladimír Mečiar|
|Last leader||Collective leadership|
|Founded||27 April 1991|
|Dissolved||11 January 2014|
|Split from||Public Against Violence|
|Succeeded by||Party of Democratic Slovakia|
|Headquarters||Tomášikova 32/A, Bratislava|
|Youth wing||Democratic Youth Forum|
|Membership (1990s)||"circa 40,000"|
|European affiliation||European Democratic Party (2009-2014)|
|International affiliation||Alliance of Democrats|
|European Parliament group||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (2009-2014)|
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.
After 1998 parliamentary election, the party remained in opposition for two terms still as the strongest party. 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. In the 2006 parliamentary election, the party dropped to 5th place and became a junior partner in the Fico's First Cabinet.
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%. In 2014, HZDS officially dissolved and designated the Party of Democratic Slovakia as the successor.
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. 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.
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, and Mečiar concluded formal negotiations over the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
The party adopted a populist left-wing position economically, and sought to slow the post-Soviet privatisation and liberalisation.
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).
Decline in oppositionEdit
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). However, lingering memories of former anti-Europeanism, conflicting rhetoric, and the presence of three Slovak parties already in the EPP prevented this. The ĽS-HZDS then looked to the Euro-integrationist European Democratic Party, 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 governmentEdit
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:
- Štefan Harabin (deputy prime minister; minister of justice);
- Miroslav Jureňa (minister of agriculture).
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.
Slovak National Council in the Czechoslovak FederationEdit
|Election year||Leader||# of
|1992||Vladimír Mečiar||1,148,625||37.26% (#1)||
74 / 150
National Council of the Slovak RepublicEdit
|Election year||Leader||# of
|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
36 / 150
15 / 150
0 / 150
0 / 150
3 / 14
1 / 13
|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|
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