People’s Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (LS-HZDS)

People’s Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (LS-HZDS). Originally known simply as the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (‘People’s Party’ was added as part of an attempt to become more palatable both domestically and abroad) the HZDS was originally Slovakia’s dominant party, and the party of long-running strongman Vladimir Meciar.

Meciar ran Slovakia as a semi-authoritarian pariah state, and the HZDS was essentially a populist, anti-privatisations party with pro-Russian leanings. Though the party lost power in 1998, it remained Slovakia’s largest until 2006 when Smer successfully won, taking most of the HZDS’s electorate.

The party had long known that the writing was on the wall, and despite being Slovakia’s largest had lost votes at every election, and so had attempted to moderate. The adoption of ‘People’s Party’ was supposed to be the beginnings of a move into the European People’s Party and the party came to be fairly pro-European. Nonetheless the EPP remained sceptical of the party and Meciar’s sudden about face and the party maintained populist positions anyway. Hence the EPP rejected Meciar’s party.

The party fell to just 8.8% in 2006 and ended up in a coalition headed by Smer. This effectively erased its remaining independent identity and Smer took its remaining vote. The party failed to win any seats at all in 2010 and, subsequently, it was dissolved. The party no longer exists.

The party’s remaining MEP is still a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. It was never a particularly good match for ALDE, and its membership was a failed attempt at cleaning up its image at home. He votes with the group 93.0% of the time.