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Tuesday, 3 March, 1998, 18:14 GMT
28 Slovak ambassadors sacked

The Slovak government led by the prime minister, Vladimir Meciar, has dismissed nearly half the country's ambassadors and scrapped a planned referendum on future NATO membership and the introduction of direct presidential elections to replace the present system of indirect election by the parliament.

Mr Meciar made the moves after assuming some of the powers of the former president, Michal Kovac, who has been his longstanding rival and who ended his term last night without leaving a successor.

The opposition has condemned the decision, calling it an all-out attack on democracy and accusing Mr Meciar of weeding out people who do not conform to his party's line.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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