threat in central Europe, the Austrian Habsburgs took control of the Czech and Hungarian thrones and created a multinational monarchy lasting until 1918.
Slovakia together with the Czech Republic formed an independent Czechoslovak state at the end of the First World War. In March 1939 (during the Second World War) Slovakia became a "free state" and nominally independent.
Following World War II Czechoslovakia was re-established. After the seizure of power by the Communists in February 1948, the "socialist industrialisation" of Slovakia became one of the aims of the government. In the 1960s some Czechoslovak communists, lead by Alexander Dubček, a Slovak, tried to initiate a reform programme under the slogan "socialism with a human face". The invasion by the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact army in August 1968 put an end to the reforms of that period. Czechoslovakia was constitutionally reorganised in 1969 into a federation of the Czech and Slovak Republics.
Mass street protests throughout Czechoslovakia in November 1989 led to many governmental changes at the turn of the year. This "velvet revolution" ended Communist rule in the country. In November 1992 a law was enacted in the Federal Assembly enabling the dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the separation of the Czech and Slovak Republics on 1 January 1993.
The Political System
The Slovak Parliament, or the “National Council“, is the sole constitutional and legislative body of the country. There are 150 Members of Parliament elected for a four-year term. Elections are held on the basis of proportional representation with a requirement to obtain a minimum of 5% of the ballot to qualify for a seat. The President is the head of state, elected directly in presidential elections and serves a largely ceremonial function. The Slovak Government is the head of the state executive powers. The Government is appointed by the President upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The President also appoints the Prime Minister, who is usually the leader of the party winning a general election.
The 2006 election replaced the center-to-right leadership with a coalition of left oriented Smer-SD (Smer – Social Democracy), center-to-left ĽS-HZDS (People’s Party - Movement for Democratic Slovakia) and the nationally oriented SNS (Slovak National Party). The next general election is scheduled for 12 June 2010.
Strategy for economic development Key aims include:
Actively support the establishment of public-private partnerships in the field of management and generation of public assets and the provision of public services.