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This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in Slovakia. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in Slovakia. In 2001, the Slovak Republic remained vigilant in its bid to join the European Union (EU), and EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen announced that the country had caught up with its neighbors Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in the process. Slovakia also began EU accession talks and joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Slovakia's constitution guarantees freedom of speech and bans censorship. Slovak citizens aged 18 and older can change their government democratically under a system of universal, equal, and direct suffrage. Voters elect the president and members of the unicameral parliament.