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Fico government survives confidence vote as expected
19 Sep 2013 Flash News
As widely expected, Prime Minister Robert Fico’s government survived today’s no confidence in connection with the state buying the remaining stake in SPP gas utility.
Of the 142 MPs present, 59 voted against Fico, 82 for him and one abstained. All the MPs present from Fico’s Smer were against the no-confidence statement and all opposition MPs were for it – except for Štefan Kuffa (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities-OĽaNO) who abstained, the TASR newswire wrote. Fico and his ministers came personally to see the vote – although they otherwise skipped most of extraordinary parliamentary session on the SPP.
As debate on the issue occurred on the night of September 18, after Fico left the parliamentary plenary hall, a skirmish surrounding a mock dummy presented by members of the opposition left OĽaNO MP Jozef Viskupič injured. He was allegedly attacked by five Smer MPs who, for their part, accuse him and OĽaNO Chairman Igor Matovič of provoking them physically. Also alleged is a big consumption of alcohol in parliament on that night, but both Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška and Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák have declined to investigate the incident.
On September 13, 56 MPs of the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Most-Híd, Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), OĽaNO, and the New Majority-Agreement singed a proposal to summon an extraordinary session aimed at recalling the prime minister.
The extraordinary session was initiated by Daniel Lipšic (independent, New Majority-Agreement party) in the wake of government plans to acquire the remaining 49 percent of shares in the mother company of gas utility SPP from the Czech-based firm Energetický a Prúmyslový Holding (EPH). This is viewed by the opposition as a largely disadvantageous move for the state to the benefit of private financial groups. Lipšic argues such suspicions are confirmed by metadata from J & T financial group that appears in the draft version of the agreement. Fico reacted that the deal is a means to guarantee gas prices will not rise. He explained the metadata as communication between two SPP shareholders which he deems “absolutely normal”.
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