Wednesday, September 30, 1998 Published at 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
Meciar calls it a day
New faces: Jozef Migas (left) and Mikulas Dzurinda
The man who has dominated Slovak politics since independence in 1993, Vladimir Meciar, has accepted defeat three days after he lost in his country's general election.
Speaking on Slovak Television, Mr Meciar said he would not try to form a new government and would resign as prime minister at the end of October.
Mr Meciar, who has also been carrying out most presidential duties since March, was widely criticised outside Slovakia for tending towards authoritarianism and failing to promote economic reforms.
His centre-left coalition was defeated by Slovakia's four main opposition parties in last weekend's vote.
Mr Dzurinda said after the meeting that the opposition parties had agreed to work together to form a new government. "I believe we will have the draft coalition agreement ready by Tuesday [6 October]," he said.
"Official talks on appointing the new government members could begin shortly afterwards," he added.
Mr Meciar led Slovakia to independence from the Czech Republic in 1993 and has governed in a manner which has brought complaints from the European Union and human rights organisations.