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The Slovak Republic, usually called Slovakia, is a landlocked country located in central Europe. It shares borders with Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria. It should not be confused with Moravian Slovakia, Slovenia, or Slavonia. Its capital and largest city is Bratislava and tThe official language is Slovak. It is a unitary parliamentary republic with both a president and a prime minister.

The Slovak Republic was born on January 1, 1993 after the Czechoslovak federation dissolved. The prime minister of the federation, Václav Klaus and the new prime minister Slovakia, Vladimír Mečiar, had both been supportive of the separation, but the general population did not agree. Immediately after the partition, many Slovaks applied for Czech citizenship due to their apprehension about the future of Slovakia's economic and political stability. And indeed, due to its economy, which was based on a then-obsolete heavy industry, the fledgling nation saw rising unemployment and a lack of foreign investment opportunities.

In 1993, the deputy chairman of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, Michal Kováč was elected president. He experienced difficulty trying to run the coalition government due to several people involved tended to dominate the others. Mečiar was a nationalist who had little tolerance for dissenting opinions, which caused the disaffection of many of the country's minority citizens. In 1994, a vote of no confidence in Mečiar resulted in his resignation. A new interim coalition, consisting of five parties led by Mečiar's replacement, Prime Minister Jozef Moravčík, instituted a policy of close alignment with western Europe.

After another round of elections and the return of Mečiar as prime minister, hostilities between him and Kováč reached a new high.

In 1995, Slovakia, under pressure from the west, signed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Hungary. This treaty contained a pledge of the Slovakian government to protect the rights of its minorities. The passage of a law which made Slovak the official language upset the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, and Hungary declared that the move was a violation of the treaty.

In 1998, numerous attempts to elect a new president met with failure, and several presidential duties ended up with Mečiar, per the constitution. He immediately made unilateral decisions which the European Union and the United States both believed were in his own interests rather than the country's, and both condemned his actions. The Slovak Republic remained without a president and therefore presided over by the prime minister for the better part of a year.

In 1999, Rudolf Schuster, a Carpathian-German minority won the presidency. The ruling coalition announced a deep austerity program in order to mend its economic problems. Numerous strikes and protests resulted, but the program prevailed.

The economy was on the upswing in the new century, and the government facilitated privatization of formerly state-owned industry. During the 2008 global economic crisis, Slovakia suffered, but their adoption of the euro in 2009 seemed to help. There was fierce debate just before the 2010 parliamentary elections about the country's role in the bailout of the euro zone countries. In that election, Iveta Radičová was elected the nation's first woman prime minister, and in August of 2010, the parliament refused to pay €816 million, which the EU allowed as Slovakia's share of the bailout for Greece. In late 2011, a no confidence vote in the EU's European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which was the European Union's organization tasked with providing assistance member countries with unstable economies. The result of the March 2012 election collapsed the government. Radičová opened talks with the opposition party, Smer, and its leader, former prime minister Robert Fico, pledged support for the EFSF contingent upon early elections.

Those elections showed the people rejecting Radičová's coalition and reinstalling Fico as prime minister. Furthermore, Smer won 83 out of 150 parliamentary seats, giving Slovakia the first non-coalition government in its history. Fico remained very popular with the country, and other than his bid to nationalize two privately-held insurance companies, thereby creating a single healthcare provider, his actions pleased the majority. Economic stability boomed, which kept Fico's approval rating aloft.

In the 2014 election, he was a candidate for the presidency. His ratings were still high , but he was defeated soundly. Probably due to the fact this a victory for him would mean that he would have control over the parliament, the presidency, and the judicial branch of government. The new president was Andrej Kiska, an entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist who had never run for any office.

 

 

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