Mečiar, Vladimír

Mečiar, Vladimír, 1942–, Slovakian political leader. A member of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia, Mečiar was ousted in 1970 after having supported party reforms following the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1989 he joined Slovakia's anti-Communist Public against Violence (VPN), becoming interim interior minister of Slovakia after Czechoslovakia's “Velvet Revolution” (1989). VPN won a plurality in the 1990 elections, and he became prime minister of a coalition government in Slovakia. Ousted as prime minister after a split in the VPN in 1991, he formed the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), which won a majority in 1992, and he again became prime minister. He eschewed Prague's fast-paced free-market reforms and, after seeking a looser confederation with the Czech Republic, agreed with Czech prime minister Václav Klaus to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Following Slovakia's independence in Jan., 1993, he became the new nation's prime minister. He resigned early in 1994 after feuding with Slovakia's president Michal Kováč over the country's privatization program, but returned to power as head of a coalition government later that year. Criticized for his autocratic style of leadership and his inability to improve the country's economy, he stepped down after the 1998 elections. Mečiar ran unsuccessfully for president in 1999 and 2004; he resigned as HZDS leader in 2013.

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