Politico-administrative relations under coalition politics in slovakia

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Ludmila Malikova, Associate Professor, Comenius University, Bratislava

One of the specific problem which post-communist countries have to solve is to re-establish the legitimacy of public authority and of the civil service in particular. The area, in which the system of legitimate public authority is absent the coalition government could become an important resource for the process of politization of state administration and/or the stabilization of the government as a whole. Our working group has tried in this case study to point out the possible consequences that intra-coalition relationships could have into the stability of state administration. We have classified our empirical material in accordance with the structure that has been proposed by NISPAcee working group for politics-administration relations (L. Vass, S. Peter, 2001). Not all the themes we have been able to cover during one semester for this was the very first attempt that systematically presents some basic facts about coalition governments in Slovak Republic.

Chapter 1: Political Parties of Coalition Government in the Parliament

Since gaining its independence in 1993, Slovakia is characteristic of multiparty system with a number of political subjects represented in the parliament as well as of coalition governance. The changes in number of political parties in the Slovak parliament or, in other words the changes in the extent of the Slovak party system fragmentation, should be analysed in respect of the two time periods which correspond to the rule of two distinct government coalitions headed by Vladimir Meciar (1994-1998) and Mikulas Dzurinda (1998-2002), respectively. Rather than examining cleavages in the Slovak political system we will focus on the analysis of the parliamentary political subjects´ character and the shifting among the parties and party blocks during the mentioned periods.

1.1 The Electoral System of the Slovak Republic

The electoral rules of the former Czech-Slovak Federative Republic (1989-1992) stemming from the proportional system of representation (and multimember-districts) were also applied to the Slovak Republic as its integral part. Although the rise of an independent Slovakia provided an opportunity for a change of electoral rules there were no requirements for such step. However, by the virtue of the fact that the Constitution of the Slovak Republic does not include any reference to the form of elections (e.g. as the Constitution of the Czech Republic) – neither to the national nor to regional parliaments – this has been a subject of political quarrels while any simple majority in the parliament could vote for a change of the electoral law.

The first parliamentary elections in the independent Slovak Republic were held in 1994 in accordance to the electoral rules of 1992 when the electoral threshold increased from 3 to 5 percent. Moreover, in order to prevent high fragmentation of the parliament, the electoral threshold for a coalition of two or three parties was stipulated to 7 percent and a coalition of more than three parties had to obtain as much as 10 percent of votes. This change in rules stimulated the formation of electoral coalitions that were to improve the electoral gains. Therefore, 18 political parties and coalitions that were officially registered for the elections of 1994, in fact represented 31 political subjects – in comparison to 23 political parties registered for the 1992 elections in Slovakia. As a result, the measures taken to reduce the level of party system fragmentation, paradoxically, promoted the opposite – an even higher number of political subjects in the parliament (there were 7 political parties and party coalitions which represented 14 political subjects).

Since 1994 the electoral rules (namely the proportional system of representation) were continuously a matter of political discussions and the strongest political and government party – the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) – expressed a number of times its will to alter the proportional rules in favour of a majoritarian electoral system claiming that this will stabilise the Slovak party system and prevent any further party system fragmentation. However, while the coalition partners of HZDS – the Slovak National Party (SNS) and the Workers´ Association in Slovakia (ZRS) – were rather small parties they refused any proposal for change of the electoral rules in favour of the majoritarian system while this would be in their own disadvantage. In spite of this fact, the government coalition led by V. Meciar finally voted for a change of the electoral law in 1998. Apart from others, the amendments of 1998 stipulated a 5 percent-threshold for each political subject registered for the elections even if this subject is a member of an electoral coalition (i.e. a three-member electoral coalition had to obtain at least 15 percent in order to get into the parliament). Moreover, the previous four electoral districts were merged into a single district with 150 mandates while enhancing competencies of the state administration in relation to the election process. The introduction of a single electoral district also increased the power of the political parties organisation in nominating the candidates for the parliament. The mentioned amendments of the electoral law not only influenced the course of the 1998 election process and the behaviour of political parties but – in longer run – also the development of the party system in Slovakia.

After the elections of 1998, the new government coalition encompassed former opposition political parties. Although only six political subjects got into the parliament, in fact, they represented more political parties – in 1998 there were thirteen of them. However, due to the mentioned electoral amendments the strongest government party – the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK) – was obliged to form a single party before the elections of 1998. In this way, a previous coalition of five parties later formally changed into a single subject having established a complex system of decision-making that also included the so-called mother parties (the original parties that formed the coalition refused to merge completely and insisted on maintaining their original independence). This resulted in a number of political disputes and tensions, which led to gradual disintegration of the SDK into the original parties. Furthermore, new parties formed uniting renegades from the SDK and/or the mother parties. In addition to the internal disintegration of the SDK, political tensions within other parliamentary parties (except for HZDS and SMK) led to a formation of new political subjects. Thus, the parliament that in 1998 consisted of six (thirteen) political subjects, in 2002 incorporates as much as eighteen political parties (we count each party that is represented by at least one deputy plus we also count the three original parties that formed the Hungarian coalition). This is a level of party system fragmentation that no one expected in 1998.

Although the new government composition embodied a chance for a prompt change of the electoral law (this change was also among the government priorities), no such event occurred until the present. The only exception is the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic that declared certain articles of the electoral amendments of 1998 as being in contradiction to the Constitution, thus cancelling their validity.

The key motive of every change of the electoral law in the period of 1994 – 2002 was the reduction of the party system fragmentation as well as the strengthening of the existing parties position. Paradoxically, each such change of this law led to even further fragmentation without any significant effect on the position of the existing political subjects. Without stabilising the fundamental character of the electoral system by its incorporation to the Constitution of the Slovak Republic, there exists a risk that the current electoral law can be a matter of disputes and amendments of any simple parliamentary majority. This fact could have some implications to the speed and quality of democratic consolidation of the Slovak Republic.
1.2 The coalition government of Vladimir Meciar (1994-1998)

The coalition government that formed after the early elections of 1994 included three political parties – the Movement for Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), Slovak National Party (SNS) and the Workers Association in Slovakia (ZRS). The parliamentary opposition consisted of Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Democratic Union (DU), Hungarian Coalition (MK) and a left-wing coalition Common Choice (SV).

In reaction to the electoral law amendments of 1998, the already established election party coalition SDK was forced to merge formally into a single party – similarly, SMK had to follow the same path.

Moreover, before the elections of 1998, a new extra-parliamentary party emerged – the Party of Civic Understanding (SOP) – led by a popular mayor of the city of Košice, Rudolf Schuster.

1.3 The coalition government of Mikulas Dzurinda (1998-2002)

After the September 25 – 26, 1998 parliamentary elections, HZDS – although being again the strongest political party - was not able to form a government with a majority in the parliament (due to its lack of coalition potential). Therefore, the leader of the second strongest party (SDK), M. Dzurinda, was authorised to form a new government coalition. The negotiations were held namely among the former opposition parties (SMK, SDĽ, SDK) and the new parliamentary party, the SOP. At the end, coalition treaty was signed among four parties – SDK, SDĽ, SMK and SOP.

The parliamentary opposition consisted of the two former coalition parties – HZDS and SNS. In 2001 the latter split into the two separate political subjects – one keeping the original name (SNS) and the other adding to the original name the adjective “Genuine” (i.e. Genuine Slovak National Party, PSNS)

Within the SDK there existed five platforms that corresponded to the ideological character of the mother parties: Christian-democratic (KDH), liberal (DU), Conservative-liberal (DS), Social-democratic (SDSS) and Green (SZS). Similarly, the party group of SDK was divided into five factions. However, each platform was even further divided into at least two parts by the question of the role and impact of mother parties within the decision-making process of SDK and the government coalition. On the one hand, there were those who favoured renewal of the original coalition frame of SDK (with the mother parties being members of the government coalition). On the other hand, there were politicians who preferred definite unification of the mother parties with SDK (keeping mother parties as only ideological platforms). Tensions between the two opinion camps gradually led to reshuffling of SDK deputies – DU officially joined with SDK, while some of the former DU members formed a new party, the Liberal Democratic Union (LDU); majority of deputies of DS split from the mother party and formed a new Civic-Conservative Party (OKS); and the pro-unification camp of SDK formed a new party, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU). After the mentioned reshuffling, party group of SDK remained with only 25 members, 20 of them being from SDKU, 3 representing SDSS and 2 from DS.

Besides the internal changes within the SDK, there were also quarrels within other coalition parties, namely SDĽ and SOP, which even further increased deputy volatility. For instance, a former deputy of SDĽ, Robert Fico, formed a new party SMER that seems to become a relevant party after the oncoming elections of 2002.

According to the empirical data on the number of political parties in the Slovak National Parliament, the party system in Slovakia shows a considerable tendency towards fragmentation. The prevailing method of the rise of new political subjects is the so-called intra-parliamentary path (according to M. Duverger). In other words, new parties emerge namely by splitting from the parliamentary parties. The logical consequence of the Slovak party system and electoral system character is a need to form coalition governments.

Chapter 2: Rules and Traditions in Forming Government, Coalition-Making Culture

According to the rules and traditions in forming government, in Slovakia might be characterised as a case in which there were, in the time of two election periods, asserted the model of several party system with one dominating party (HZDS, 1994) as well as the model of several party system without the dominating party (the election in 1998). The theoretical problem appears by the judging of position of political party SDK as a political formation of several small parties that created the unitary actor, which is, however, inwardly differentiated in organisation as well as behaviour; what has been affecting the internal partnership among the leaders, especially by the securing of certain posts in the government. When we are examining the participation in government from the viewpoint of office seeking theory we can suppose that the importance of the ministerial posts is not evaluated qualitatively the same by all actors in coalition negotiation. And that is why the disagreements about assigned/given posts appear; what in its consequences means that in the case of assignment of coalition agreement on the ministerial posts allocation there is strengthened the principle of rezortism in the actors` behaviour, that, however, must not have only the negative connotation. It seems that the key problem of the way of government in Slovakia is right the approach to the forming of coalition agreement. The coalition agreement as a document represents a way of potential conflicts` solving; in some cases it indicates the mechanisms of how to solve these conflicts. And it is just the framework of this provisions that differ one coalition agreement from another, by what they anticipate the different behaviour of concrete coalition partners as well as the whole government coalition.

From the viewpoint of policy seeking theory the ideological and platform affinity of concrete actors is in the coalition negotiations the most important. If the platforms of the political parties are too close/similar to each other it disables the effective performance of government, because each of them tends to emphasise its difference via more emphatic rhetoric. From the context of political duel in the election of 1998 it is clear that the factor, which most influenced the creation of coalition, was the six years long government of the HZDS with Vladimir Meciar in its forehead. None of other factors was so strong (despite the fact that from the present point of view we evaluate it under the different angle). As the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemaine Zeitung wrote after the election: "non-voluntary creator of the unity of Slovak political opposition was Vladimir Meciar." And as the Reuters warned: in "the sharply polarised political scene in Slovakia" the ideological affinity becomes only the secondary factor of identification. The winner of election in September 1998 was de facto the SDĽ. In the comparison with previous election the SDĽ obtained 4.23% votes more, what brought SDĽ only five mandates more but with 23 mandates it became the third most successful party in election; the voters created for the SDĽ more than advantageous position for coalition negotiations.

Only three days after the election the SDK, SOP and SMK refused to negotiate with the HZDS. By the voice of its chairman the SDL declared that they would negotiate with all parliamentary parties but to negotiate with the HZDS about the creation of government was for the SDL unacceptable; in comparison with the other parties the SDĽ left more room for negotiation. On the other hand, the representative of the HZDS Sergej Kozlik declared that the HZDS would not form the minority government in any case and assumed that the after-election negotiation would be start firstly with the SNS and then extended to the other potential partners, especially the SDĽ and SOP. There was even a possibility of alternative coalition government of the HZDS and SDĽ, where the SDĽ would get the post of prime minister.

However in Slovakia existed more alternatives for the establishment of new coalition government. The most bizarre was, without any doubts, the variant of the HZDS plus SDK coalition (the analogy of Czech opposition agreement, however with the difference that both strongest Czech parties, the ODS and CSSD, had the constitutional majority after the election, what did not refer to the case of the SDK-HZDS connection). This indicates one significant characteristic of coalition forming in Slovakia: the domination of majority way problem solving. Maybe right in this point came to the biggest break in September 1998 in comparison with the year 1994: whatever the intention of parties was, there was not created the typical (or at least the most common) minimal winner coalition; instead so called large coalition emerged. But why was the coalition mentioned above (offering the easiest mechanisms of decision making) not created? And why it could not be created? The SDK represented the main camp of resistance/opposition towards the (till that time in coalition governing) HZDS; and that is why their Cupertino was beforehand rejected. What is more the political, economic and social platform, which was presented by the SDK, was tended to be antagonistic to that one offered by the HZDS. (In present point of view we see that at least the part devoted to economy was not entirely antagonistic; just the opposite is true).

The several factors says that the SDL held the strongest cards: without the SDL, res. without its representation in the parliament the SDK, as the strongest - in that time - opposition party, was not able to form (after the exclusion of the HZDS and SNS) any coalition government. With this correspond also the fact that the first bilateral negotiations concerning the possible future government were lead by the SDK and SDL. The unclear, also in the case of large coalition creation, stayed the position of the defeated winner, the HZDS. After the first, res. the second set of bilateral negotiations it was clear that the post of the president of the parliament would stay in the hands of one of the future governing parties. The platform, with which the SDK entered the election,

had the best prerequisites to fulfil in the case that the other, liberally oriented party supported it (especially the economic and also social-politic part of the SDK` platform was pervaded with the ideas of the Democratic Party). And in the framework of coalition negotiation in October 1998 the SMK was such a party. The representatives of the Democratic Party, Democratic Union and the liberal platform of the SDK emphasised the support for enter of the SMK to the prepared coalition. In the case of this convergence the fact, that also the personal liking on the level of both central where higher than standard in comparison with other almost doubtless partners, played an important role.

All coalition agreements in Slovakia after 1992, res. after the birth of the independent Slovak Republic in 1993 are the expression of majority solving problems This type of behaviour, characteristic for all countries of V4, represents the behavioural residuum obtained during the years of the supremacy of one - communist - party. The indicator of (possible) change was the coalition agreement from the October 1998, which established first time after the year 1992 not the minimal winner coalition but the large coalition of parties SDK-SDĽ-SMK-SOP. According to the definition of large coalition the reasons that motivate the establishment of large coalition are rooted in the program/platform` interests and the bindings among parties. However it is not the one possible explanation; in the case of this coalition there were (together with other facts) important also the prepared constitutional changes requiring the qualified majority.

If we imagine a continuum, of which end poles are created by office and policy - seeking theory and the behaviour of the party in the coalition negotiations determines their mutual rate on this continuum, then we assume that the office - seeking theory represents the dominant model of coalition government forming in Slovakia. We would like to emphasise that one principle do not exclude another, just the opposite is true: they supplement, even overlap each other. More aspects decide about their mutual rate: the criteria of power and the criteria of ideological affinity play her an important role.

The position of the HZDS in the coalition government in 1994, which was established by the coalition agreement, was so strong that the authoritarian decision making, which was often the point of critique of the HZDS` chairman Vladimir Meciar, was in fact enabled by the vague formulated coalition agreement intensified by the weak opposition of other coalition partners. In such a way formulated coalition agreement was the representative example of the problem solving by the majority way with the domination of office - seeking theory.

Chapter 3: Coalition Agreements

The point which with we starts with is the analysis of coalition agreements. The Agreement on Coalition Forming (1994) stipulates which post and which party this post will be distributed to. According to this agreement, ZRS was given a vice-premier three ministers and three state secretaries, SNS gained two ministers and two state secretaries, RSS had one state secretary and the rest redounded to HZDS.

Coalition Agreement (1998) intervenes into distributions of posts more significantly. It stipulates distribution of posts in cabinet committees of NRSR (parliament) and presidential function. These posts were appointed to a concrete person. These arrangements respected principle of proportionality with exception of SDL, which was given a minister more while SOP substituted this loss with a right to nominate candidate of president. This coalition agreement binds those who participate on forming a similar institution to that of Coalition Council on regional or local level. This latter agreement specifies a structure of delegations by some international organisations (The Council of Europe, OSCE, NATO, WEU and EU).
3.1 Distribution of Post in the Structure of Governmental Institution

Both of the aforementioned coalition agreements have distributed these posts according to the similar key. Where are the differences? The Agreement on Coalition Forming (1994) had declarative character; it settled general and basic rules of co-ordination and defined some aims of the created coalition. In contrast, Coalition Agreement (1998) contains and accurate arrangements on how to distribute cabinet posts which channels of communication will be used and it settles and exact mechanism of decision making within coalition.

3.2 Mechanism of Decision Process in Coalition Agreements

The Agreement on Coalition Forming (1994) defined mechanism of decision making in the following way. Deliberations will be held regularly for once per week on the level of leaders (or their deputies) of agreed parties. The partakers of the agreement obliged themselves to collaborate in avoiding a potential dispute. Until the agreement is done the parties refrain from commenting and explaining their own attitudes on this dispute.

Coalition partners according to Coalition Agreement (1998) decided on constituting a common institution – coalition council. To its competence belong: deliberation and unification of coalition partners opinions on their co-operation; ensuring a coherent proceeding in their collaboration; deliberation of potential change in governmental program. Coalition council consists of:

leaders of coalition parties or their deputies

chairman of the parliamentary groups or their deputies

members of the cabinet (max. one person of each party)

Coalition council has become the highest institution in decision process within coalition government (while none of the bill decisions will deliberate till the coalition council decides). Each of the coalition partners dispose of one vote. Meetings of coalition council take place regularly twice a month in minimum or on whichever member of coalition council request.

As it is obvious both of the agreements brought into the political decision making an extra constitutional mechanism; moreover, this instrument was institutionalised into the form of coalition council in 1998. Coalition Agreement (1998) represents in particular senses a more rigid and more institutionalised way of decision making.

The relation between coalition agreements and governmental programs is also interesting. According to agreement (1994) the declaration of governmental program should have been submitted only after the coalition partners have agreed. Coalition partners have obliged to implement governmental program. The cabinet was in terms of coalition partners activities tied only with governmental program. According to coalition agreement (1998) this relationship was not defined while governmental program had not been elaborated at that time; coalition partners have despite this fact agreed that they would support prospective program.

Comparing coalition agreements we have to take into account context of political situation which these agreements were created in. Forming the coalition and subsequent style of politics after 1994 was influenced by dominant position of HZDS and its leader V. Meciar. The relevance of coalition partners was despite the declaration only formal but significant infringes have not appeared. After the election 1998 great coalition was established differently from the previous one this government comprised political subjects of different size and ideology. Proportion between these four political parties was more equable than it was in previous electoral period.

Chapter 4: The Structure and Activities of Coalition Government

These structures and activities of coalition government are arranged by formal norms, in particular by the constitution special laws and by another rules (Coalition agreement, deliberation rules). Within these norms a government is arranged into hierarchical framework of formal relationships which project policy making in Slovak republic.

The most important actors of governmental politics are cabinet, parliament, president, ministries and specialised offices of state administration, regional and local government. Some other organisations could not be omitted; e.g. corporate organisations, NGO’s, funds, civic associations, foreign partners, media and another interest groups.

Cabinet as a collective body decides (by using the decrees) on bills of law, ordinances, governmental program and its realisation, on arrangements of social and economic policy, on international treaties as well as on state budget. The government is accountable to the parliament. The constitution also stipulates that each member of the cabinet is accountable to the parliament.

Despite the strong position of parliament, which is stipulated in the constitution in terms of discipline of coalition parties, parliament has become a place for “registration” of governmental proposals which is typical for cabinet form of government. Non problematic adoption of laws was highly encouraged by the discipline of coalition parties. Legislative work went into “vicious circle”: parliament adopted a law involving anti-constitutional arrangements, president has vetoed this, coalition majority adopted it again, president or opposition has forwarded it to the Constitutional Court to scrutinise these arrangements. The Constitutional Court has become the only institution able to regulate anti-constitutional activities of the government intertwined with the executive.

Vice-premier and consultative bodies of the cabinet – The function of vice-premier is not exactly defined, but according to statute he/she is responsible for co-ordination of ministerial activities with governmental office.

Chapter 5: Organisational Structure of the Governmental Executive Bodies

Organisational structure of the governmental executive bodies (ministries and offices of the central government (CG)) and the relation among them has great impact on functioning and effectiveness of the civil service. There was not paid any attention of the experts in Slovakia to it till today. Legislative norms that arrange organisational relations among politicians and civil servants become valid from April 2002 (Civil service law and Public service law). Ministries and other offices of central government undergo frequent changes, not only outer (i.e. their field of competencies is changing) but mainly by inner changes (i.e. new sections and departments are created without clearly stated competencies or the definition of their work – who does what, to whom is he accountable, for whom is he accountable and what is his position in the hierarchy. There does not exist any specialised research about bureau’s of CG and the changes that are needed for better operation of these institutions.. They are still very structured and closed institutions with blurred outer and inner relations. There are very few analysis and experts concerning this problem.

After the change of regimes there appeared great political, economical and cultural changes civil society started to grow. New democratic governments had to accommodate to those changes therefore number of central bodies of the government and fields related to them were frequently changed. The most stable bodies of the government, concerning the definition of their competence, are ministry of culture, ministry of justice and ministry of finance. Others were differently split, joined, dissolved or founded. It is difficult to say which government has made most radical changes. In the 9year term of the existence of the Slovak Republic there were 74 ministers and average durability on their posts was 24 months. In Meciar’s government nine ministers were displaced and in Dzurinda’s government , seven until now . (SME, 4.2.2002)

Frequently discussed is topic about decreasing the number of the central government bodies, mainly about the reduction of particular apparatuses. Experience from the practice is different. With the new agendas, new sections and departments are created, but they usually do not dissolve after fulfilling of their agenda. The government of the Prime Minister Dzurinda, in the beginning of their 4year term, put through National council of the Slovak Republic (NR SR) that central executive bodies are to be increased in number from 18 to 21. It happened mainly due to the need to fulfil the Coalition agreement about the division of the posts among the governing parties. Because of this development inside the structure of the government we cannot say which ministry had the most stable management. Agendas were frequently changed, enlarged also in connection with approximation of law with the EU legislation.

Characteristic feature of the central government organs is monocratic decision making. It consists in individual decision making of the political actors responsible for administration of the department or agenda. It does not mean that collective appraisal in governmental bodies. Ministers and chairmen of the bureau are fully responsible for fulfilling of the given tasks. To their competence belongs using of all the authorities and appliances for their securing. In connection with gradual constituting of the framework of the executive bodies of the Slovak Republic is the number of the governmental posts in the government changing with every new government. The laws of NR SR determine their domain and rules of their activity.

Chapter 6: Organisation of Ministries

Both cabinets conserve fifteen ministries: only in personal field were some changes, where were exchanged top functions, ministers and state secretaries. There was made changes in number of state secretaries during the Dzurinda's coalition cabinet. There were two ministries with two state secretaries; the rest ones had only one secretary during the Meciar's cabinet. In the case of Dzurinda's cabinet is one secretary on seven ministries, the others ministries have two secretaries; on four ministries the state secretaries do not have specific field for which they are responsible (one of the state secretary is head negotiator with EU, but it is not specified in statute and neither in organisational order of ministry. On the four last ministries is function of state secretaries defined in organisational order or in statute of ministry. Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications is the only one, where state secretaries are placed in organisational structure in such way, that they respond for concrete departments. One secretary is responsible for departments, which refer to transport; and the second one is responsible for those ones, which refer to post and telecommunications. State secretaries of Ministry of Education have fields determined by the educational system. One of the secretaries is responsible for elementary and secondary schools and for sports, children and youth. The second state secretary responses for universities, science and technique.

Organisational structure of ministry has these levels of management: minister, state secretary, and general director of section, director of department, chief of division.

The fundamental organisational level of management and performer of defined ranges of tasks and of specific, professional functions is section. It is the office of ministry that perform the tasks connected with providing for professional, organisational and technical function of ministry. On the top of the office of ministry is chief of office; cabinet according to proposal of competent minister nominates him. With regard to the fact, that the Civil Service Law is going into force in April 2002, until now, practically the functions on ministries are in the hands of politically nominated ministers and state secretaries. The posts of state secretaries are occupied according to coalition agreement. There is a principle, when minister is from one of the coalition party, at lest one of his state secretaries have to be from another coalition party. There is not mention in agreement about the fact, which of specified posts of state secretary is the post of representative of certain party.

Chapter 7: Government Office

Government office of the Slovak Republic is central body of the Government, which role is the control of the task fulfilling of the civil service and spending of the finances needed for administration of the given tasks. Other, not less important, tasks of the Government office are processing of initiatives, petitions and divers announcements. Government office fulfils also tasks of professional and technical assurance of the Slovak government and its organs.

The head of Government office (GO) is chairman of GO, who is appointed and called off by government. For his activity he is accountable to the prime minister. At present the chairman is Tibor Toth who is the longest functioning chairman of the GO (from 5.Nov 1998). Also T. Toth certifies unwritten rule from the past that candidates for the post of the chairman of GO were in most cases political nominates of the strongest coalition party. T. Tóth was in the elections of 1998 candidate of SDK and in April 2002 he followed premier Dzurinda and entered SDKÚ. From the creation of the independent Slovak Republic there were 6 chairmen of the GO (in chronological order): I. Lexa, J. Filko, Z. Kramplova, M. Suchankova, M. Topoli – all nominates of HZDS (ruling coalition party) a T. Toth – SDK (SDKÚ). Formally does tender occupy single posts at the GO.

Among main tasks of the GO belong: control of the filling of the tasks of the civil service, processing of the complaints and announcements, co-ordination of the function of the ministries and other bodies of the government in the field of legislation and approximation of the law, co-ordination of the integration process of the SR to the EU, securing of the tasks of the national co-ordinator of the PHARE program, securing of the function of secretariats and attorneys of the government. Among specific tasks of the GO belong: co-ordination and preparing the announcements about the condition of individual areas of the development of the SR, preparing the proposals of the work and program declaration of the government, preparing the information, details and analyses for the purposes of the government or individual ministers and provision of the information about functioning of the government and its decisions. Except the chairman there are following grades of the management: deputy of the chairman, general director of the section, director of the department and chief of the divisions. Concerning the number of the individual organisational units in the GO, there are 6 sections, 27 departments and two divisions. Except above-mentioned units, GO roofs also bureau of the premier, vice premiers, advisors and attorneys of the government. Bureau with special mission in the GO are the bureau of the attorneys of the government for gypsy minority problems, for protection of the personal data in the information systems, for realisation of the project strategy of the reform and decentralisation of the public administration and their organisations.

The constitution, laws and generally valid law prescriptions give the relation among GO and other central bodies of the government. Working methods of the GO should aim the rationalisation and increasing the effectiveness of the skilled solving of the problems and to control of filling of the given tasks. GO controls and co-ordinates the activity of the central state organs for sake of securing of the operation of the government.


Coalition politics in Slovakia presents a particularly interesting case because it is influenced by two elements. On the one hand, there are institutional restraints, such as the electoral system, electoral laws, and constitutional provisions for the recall of ministers. These have remained relatively (but not entirely) constant since Slovakia became an independent state in 1993. On the other hand , there are very notable differences between the way the Meciar government coalition functioned during the 1994-1998 parliament, and the operation of the Dzurinda government in the 1998-2002 period. This suggests that both the relative power of parties within the coalition, and their organisational structures and policy goals, are politically relevant. In the Slovak case, the inter ply of these elements is significant because it allows us to control the extent to which institutional restraints affect the way that coalitions work, and also to suggest the other factors which affect government. Slovakia is also an interesting case because of the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the September 2002 elections, and the various scenarios for the formation of the future government. Without analysis of the underlying institutional and party political restraints affecting government in Slovakia, it will be extremely hard to understand future developments in the country.


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  1. Koaličná dohoda medzi SDK, SDĽ, SMK a SOP zo dňa 28.10.1998

  2. The Ministry of Finance of The Slovak Republic; Ministerstvo financií SR; (prehľad činnosti ministerstva v rokoch 1995 – 1998, odpočet plnenia programového vyhlásenia vlády).

  3. Nález Ústavného súdu Slovenskej republiky z 18. marca 1999, Zbierka zákonov č. 66/1999

  4. Organizačný poriadok Ministerstva financií Slovenskej republiky platný od 15. 1. 1997, stav k 19. 1 1998 (menný zoznam pracovníkov)

  5. Organizačný poriadok Úradu vlády Slovenskej republiky z roku 2001

  6. Podkladový materiál pre rokovanie o vzťahoch a personálnych možnostiach ústredných vládnych inštitúcií a hospodárskych rezortov rozhodujúcich pre ekonomiku Slovenska po voľbách 1998; Spracované v ekonomickej sekcii Politického konzília KDH, Bratislava, október 1998.

  7. Prehľad o ústredných orgánoch štátnej správy Slovenskej republiky; Úrad vlády Slovenskej republiky – Sekcia Slovenská informačná agentúra; november 1998.

  8. Rokovací poriadok vlády Slovenskej republiky z roku 2001

  9. Správa o činnosti rezortu Ministerstva financií SR za rok 2000 a úlohy na rok 2001; Ministerstvo financií SR, máj 2001.

  10. Ústava SR č. 460/1992 Zb. v znení ústavného zákona č. 444/1998 Zb., ústavného zákona č. 9/1999 a ústavného zákona č. 90/2001 Zb. z 23.2.2001

  11. Zmluva o vytvorení vládnej koalície zo dňa 11.12.1994

  12. Zmluva o vytvorení koalície pre okres Trenčín – HZDS, ZRS, SNS, RSS; 4. januára 1995.




www.government. gov. sk

www.telecom. gov. sk

www.finance. gov. sk

www.economy. gov. sk

www.mod. gov. sk

www.mpsr. sk

www.employment. gov. sk

www.privatiz. gov. sk

www.justice. gov. sk

www.education. gov. sk

www.minv. sk

www.civil. gov. sk

www.build. gov. sk.

www.sdl. sk – „ Koaličná dohoda medzi SDK, SDĽ, SMK, SOP.“

Ústava SR č. 460/1992 Zb. v znení ústavného zákona č. 444/1998 Z.z., ústavného zákona č. 9/1999 a ústavného zákona č. 90/2001 Z.z. z 23.2.2001

Nález Ústavného súdu Slovenskej republiky z 18. marca 1999, Zbierka zákonov č. 66/1999

Prehľad o ústredných orgánoch štátnej správy Slovenskej republiky; Úrad vlády Slovenskej republiky – Sekcia Slovenská informačná agentúra; november 1998.

Orgány štátnej správy, pôsobiace v procese správy daní a správa finančnej kontroly (stručný popis neznámeho pôvodu)

The Ministry of Finance of The Slovak Republic; Ministerstvo financií SR; (prehľad činnosti ministerstva v rokoch 1995 – 1998, odpočet plnenia programového vyhlásenia vlády).

Ústava Slovenskej republiky z roku 1992, novelizovaná v roku 1998, 1999 a 2001

Rokovací poriadok vlády Slovenskej republiky z roku 2001

Organizačný poriadok Úradu vlády Slovenskej republiky z roku 2001

Zmluva o vytvorení vládnej koalicie zo dňa 11.12.1994

Koaličná dohoda medzi SDK, SDĽ, SMK a SOP zo dňa 28.10.1998


denník SME

denník Nový čas

denník Pravda

denník Práca

denník Hospodárske noviny

Tlačová agentúra Slovenskej Republiky

Slovenská televízia

rádio Twist

mesačník OS

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