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Yearbook 2002

Slovakia. According to Countryaah website, unemployment was close to 20% during the year, which caused many Slovak youths to apply abroad. A series of financial scandals broke out in the spring, where hundreds of thousands of Slovaks lost money in so-called pyramid schemes. The Slovak Nationalist Party on the right took advantage of the upset people's opinion and demanded that the government keep the savers harmless. But the strained state budget prevented the government from intervening, despite the imminent election. The mood among the Slovaks eased somewhat when the country's ice hockey national team won the World Cup gold for the first time in the spring.

2002 Slovakia

Prior to the September parliamentary elections, there was widespread concern that Vladimír Mečiar and his party Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) would return to power. Mečiar's authoritarian style and his lack of respect for democratic freedoms and rights have been condemned both at home and within the EU. There was a risk that the EU would not accept Slovakia as a member if Mečiar formed government and the US signaled that Slovakia's future NATO membership could also be in danger.

Mečiars HZDS was the largest in the election with 19.5% of the vote. Prime Minister Mikulaš Dzurinda's party Slovakia's Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU) came in second place with 15%. Dzurinda, however, managed to gather support for a new middle-right coalition that isolated HZDS from power. The former government parties SDKU, the Hungarian Coalition Party and Christian Democratic KDH were now joined in the coalition by the newly formed business-friendly party New Citizens Alliance (ANO).

At the NATO Summit in Prague in November, Slovakia and six other states were invited as members of the military alliance from 2004. At the EU summit in Copenhagen in December, Slovakia, together with another nine countries, were accepted as new members of the EU from 2004. But first, EU membership will be approved in a referendum, which for Slovakia will be implemented in 2003.

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