This article argues that 'Meciarism' represented an inevitable phase on Slovakia's way towards democracy and a market economy - it was the 'Slovak must'. 'Meciarism' as a distinct phase of development was determined by the fact that state-building and democratic transition took place at the same time and were fostered by peculiar traditional features of Slovak political culture. The first substantive section of the article introduces the theory and practice of 'Meciarism'. The attempt to clarify core features and their ideological roots is illustrated by a selection of examples that depict the reality of 'Meciarist rule' and the coalition government's political style. The second section investigates the political environment on the civic level, which was favourable to the emergence of 'Meciarism', and argues that 'civic incompetence' was the main reason for Prime Minister Meciar's political success. Finally, the third section explores the historic origins of 'Meciarism'. It shows how distinctive historical conditions and constellations shaped Slovak society's political culture to such an extent that 'Meciarism' was an inevitable feature of the first years of national independence.