Mikulas Dzurinda

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Portrait of Mikul Dzurinda

Mikulš Dzurinda (born February 4 1955) is the current Prime Minister of Slovakia. He has been Prime Minister since October 30 1998 for the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK) and was re-elected in October 2002 for the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union. Since 2002, he is in coalition with the Christian Democratic Movement, the Alliance of the New Citizen and the Party of the Hungarian Coalition.


Early Life

Dzurinda was born on February 4, 1955, in the eastern Slovak village Spišsk Štvrtok. He graduated from the College of Transport and Communications in Žilina in 1979. In 1988, he completed his post-graduate scientific research there and was awarded a Candidate of Sciences (CSc.) degree. He worked for the Transport Research Institute (VD) in Žilina as an economic analyst (1979-1988). Later he was the director of an information technology section within the regional directorate of the Czechoslovak Railways (ČSD) in Bratislava (1988-1990).

Mikulš Dzurinda is married with two daughters. He also speaks English and French.

Dzurinda entered Slovak politics as one of the founding members of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), a conservative political party officially constituted in 1990. The first democratic general election in the former Czechoslovakia was in 1990, and he was appointed Deputy Minister of Transportation and Posts of the Slovak Government in 1991. In 1992 he became a member of the Slovak parliament (Slovak National Council, later called National Council of the Slovak Republic), and worked as a member of the Committee for Budget and Finance. At the time of the split of Czechoslovakia and the establishment of an independent Slovakia (1993), he was KDH Deputy Chairman responsible for economy. During the tenure of Jozef Moravčk as Prime Minister (March-October 1994) Dzurinda was the Slovak Minister of Transportation, Posts and Public Works. Following the general election in 1994 won by Vladimr Mečiar, he returned to the opposition benches in the parliament.

Prime Minister 1998 - 2002

In response to the Election Act prepared and approved by Mečiar's government in 1997, five opposition parties (Christian Democratic Movement/KDH, Democratic Party/DS, Democratic Union/DU, Social Democratic Party of Slovakia/SDSS and the Green Party of Slovakia/SZS) formed the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK). Dzurinda became its spokesman, and later, on July 4, 1998, its chairman.

Dzurinda was appointed Slovakia's prime minister for the first time in October 1998, leading five previous opposition parties united as the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK) and defeating the government of Vladimr Mečiar at the polls.

Under Dzurinda's leadership Slovakia managed to re-enter integration processes and registered a political comeback in relations both with the European Union and trans-Atlantic economic and political structures. The success of the reforms put through by his cabinet were best reflected in Slovakia's entry into the OECD in September 2000, completion of accession negotiations with the European Union and the entry of major investors into the Slovak market. The U.S. Steel investment, for example, came with a pledge to invest more than a billion dollars here over the next decade.

In January 2000 he founded a new political party, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU), which he has chaired since. In an intra-party election in March 2002, SDKU members confirmed his leading position and following the September 2002 general election he was given the opportunity to again form the Slovak government. The Party of the Hungarian Coalition (SMK), Christian Democratic Union (KDH) and the Alliance of the New Citizen (ANO) have joined the SDKU in the ruling coalition. The Free Forum split from the SDKU in early 2004.

Prime Minister 2002 - 2004

The reformist course of Dzurinda's policies was confirmed by a mandate he was given by electors in the 2002 general election to form his second government. It was also a year when the NATO Prague Summit in November decided on Slovakia's invitation to join NATO; and the country also completed accession talks with the EU at the Copenhagen Summit in December, thus launching its ratification process.

Other activities

Dzurinda has lectured at North American and European universities, and to both experts and public audiences. He is a strong advocate of trans-Atlantic ties. He has met and talked personally to leading foreign politicians, including U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, German Chancellor Gerhard Schrder, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, European Commission President Romano Prodi, NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson, and several influential US senators and congressmen. Under his leadership, the Visegrad Group—a co-operative grouping of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—was revived and gained new stimuli.

Dzurinda is a keen marathoner. He has taken part in the International Peace Marathon (MMM) in Košice 13 times, he ran the Lesser Carpathians Marathon (in 1986 in his personal best of 2 hours, 54 minutes and 57 seconds) and in 1996 the Rajec Marathon. In 2001, as Slovakia's premier he took part in the famous New York City Marathon, completing the 42.195-km course in 3 hours, 42 minutes. On April 13, 2003 he ran his second foreign marathon, held in London. He mended his final time at 3 hours 36 minutes.

See also: List of national leaders


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