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Slovak Republic - Introduction

Slovak Republic was formed in 1993 after a peaceful dissolution of the Czech and Slovak Feredative Republic on the area of 49,035 m2 with 5,389,180 inhabitants (31 December 2005). Capital and the most populated (428,672) city of Slovakia is Bratislava, which is situated in the south-western part of the country at the borders of Slovakia, Hungary and Austria.

The Slovak Republic, with a population of approximately 5.4 million, is a multiparty parliamentary democracy led by a prime minister and a 150-member Narodna Rada (National Council). Voters elected the head of government, Prime Minister Robert Fico of the Smer Party, to a four-year term in 2006. President Ivan Gasparovic, the head of state, was reelected for a five-year term during the year. Both elections were considered free and fair. Eight political parties, three of which form the governing coalition, sit in the National Council. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces.

The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were problems in some areas. Notable human rights problems included some continuing reports of police mistreatment of Romani suspects and lengthy pretrial detention; restrictions on freedom of religion; concerns about the integrity of the judiciary, corruption in national government, local government, and government health services; violence against women and children; trafficking in women and children; and societal discrimination and violence against Roma and other minorities.

Slovak Republic consists of 8 self-governing regions, their governing being in principle independent on the central government, and 79 districts. The most populated regions are Koice and Preov, population density being the highest in Bratislava self-governing region (294 people/km2). Quality of road infrastructure (above all availability of highways and motorways), FDI inflow and related salaries and unemployment rate still differs significantly from region to region. In general, western regions (Bratislava, Trnava self-governing region) are more developed than regions of the central (Bansk Bystrica), or eastern Slovakia (Preov, Koice self-governing region). For instance, the highest unemployment rate and the lowest salaries can be found in Preov and Bansk Bystrica regions while Bratislava and Trnava regions are just the opposite.

Due to a more-developed infrastructure (highways, motorways), proximity of Trans-European Transport Networks and destination markets, several foreign investors opted for the western part of Slovakia as the destination for their investment. ilina, Trnava and Bratislava regions have experienced natural creation of automotive clusters around sites of KIA Motors (town of ilina), PSA Peugeot (town of Trnava), or Volkswagen (city of Bratislava), while Trnava and Nitra regions are known for their electrotechnical clusters formed around Samsung (towns of Galanta and Voderady) and Sonny (town of Nitra), soon to be joined by the site of AU Optronics (town of Trencn, Trencn self-governing region). Koice self-governing region, home of the US Steel Koice, has had a long tradition in steel production, chemical industry occurs in the region of Preov (town of Humenn) and Trencn (town of Pchov) while wood-processing sites are situated mostly in the central part of the country (Bansk Bystrica self-governing region).

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