People's Party - Movement For A Democratic Slovakia
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People's Party %E2%80%93 Movement For A Democratic Slovakia
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia
Hnutie za demokratické Slovensko
LeaderVladimír Me?iar
Founded27 April 1991
Dissolved11 January 2014
Split fromPublic Against Violence
HeadquartersTomá?ikova 32/A, Bratislava
Membership (2012)4,175[1]
Political positionSyncretic[12]
European affiliationEuropean Democratic Party
International affiliationNone (member of the Alliance of Democrats)[a]
European Parliament groupAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (2009-2014)
Colours      White, Blue, Red
"Vivat Slovakia"
Former headquarters of the ?S-HZDS political party at Tomá?ikova Street 32/A in Bratislava

The Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (Slovak: Hnutie za demokratické Slovensko, HZDS) was a populist political party in Slovakia.

Founded in 1991, its leader is Vladimír Me?iar, who, as Prime Minister, led Slovakia through the Velvet Divorce. The party has been a member of the Slovak government three times: twice as the leading partner with Me?iar as Prime Minister (1992-94, 1994-98) and from 2006 - 2010 as the junior partner under Robert Fico of Direction - Social Democracy, and was the largest party from 1991 to 2006.

Founded in opposition to privatisation, the party's ideology has shifted repeatedly,[13] with the only constants being Me?iar's leadership and a populism that alienated it from other parties in Slovakia and abroad. To overcome its previous reputation as a 'pariah',[14] the party has touted its support of European integration.[15] It was a member of the integrationist European Democratic Party, despite not sharing the liberal ideology of that organisation. Me?iar's rule is commonly described as authoritarian.[16][17][18]

The party was dissolved after it failed to secure any seats in the National Council in the 2012 election, having lost them in the 2010 election.


Velvet Revolution

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.[19] Called 'Movement for a Democratic Slovakia' (HZDS), it was led by Vladimír Me?iar, 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.[20]

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. Me?iar 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,[21] and Me?iar concluded formal negotiations over the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

Dominant party

The party adopted a populist left-wing position economically,[22] and sought to slow the post-Soviet privatisation and liberalisation.[23]

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).[24]

Decline in opposition

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' (?S-HZDS) to try to achieve membership of the European People's Party (EPP).[14] However, lingering memories of former anti-Europeanism, conflicting rhetoric,[14] and the presence of three Slovak parties already in the EPP prevented this.[15] The ?S-HZDS then looked to the Euro-integrationist European Democratic Party,[15] which it joined in 2009.

The build-up to the 2002 election saw Me?iar exclude a number of prominent members from the party's list of candidates. Several of the excluded members, led by Ivan Ga?parovi?, 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 ?S-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

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

Two ?S-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

National Council

European Parliament

Year Vote Vote % Seats Place
2004 119,582 17.04
2009 74,241 Decrease 8.97 Decrease
5th Decrease

See also


  1. ^ Not an actual political international but a loose parties' partnership


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Byl jsem pro n?j selský nacionalista, vzpomíná Me?iar na Havla".
  4. ^ "Slovenský voli? trestá pravicovou gorilu, levicová mu nevadí, míní analytik". (in Czech). iDNES. 12 March 2012.
  5. ^ a b Vel?ic, Marián (12 June 2001). "HZDS pomáha v?etko" (PDF). (in Slovak).
  6. ^ "Dvojnásobné platy, ?vaj?iarske dôchodky a iné "divo?iny" na?ich politikov". (in Slovak). HN Online. 2 March 2016.
  8. ^ "?udová strana - Hnutie za demokratické Slovensko - analýza volebného programu". (in Slovak). Volebny Infoservis. 12 June 2006.
  9. ^ Hancová, Eva (2018). "Komparácia slovenských parlamentných volieb v rokoch 2012 a 2016 so zameraním na stranícky euroskepticizmus" (PDF) (in Czech).
  10. ^ "Rok 1997: Ke? Slovensko ostatným len zamávalo".
  11. ^ "Ako sa premiér Fico obklopuje ?u?mi s prepojeniami na Rusko". 24 October 2016.
  12. ^ "Fico ?elí p?ed volbami skandálu. Jeho strana prý proprala 75 milion?". 10 June 2010. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ Haughton, Tim (July 2001). "HZDS: The Ideology, Organisation and Support Base of Slovakia's Most Successful Party". Europe-Asia Studies. 53 (5): 745-69. doi:10.1080/09668130120060251. S2CID 154743549.
  14. ^ a b c Szczerbiak et al (2008), p. 285
  15. ^ a b c Henderson (2009), p. 4
  16. ^ Palata, Lubo? (2 March 2020). "Zm?na je na Slovensku t?eba. Ale demokracie bývá pomalá". Orlický Deník.
  17. ^ K?en, Jan (May 2019). ?tvrt století st?ední Evropy: Visegrádské zem? v globálním p?íb?hu let 1992-2017. ISBN 9788024639772.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Archleb Gály (2006), p. 534
  20. ^ Bartl (2002), p. 171
  21. ^ Bartl (2002), p. 173
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Krause, Kevin (1996). "Dimensions of Party Competition in Slovakia". Sociológia - Slovak Sociological Review. 1 (2): 169-86.
  • 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

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