THE LEADER of the emerging Sieť (Network) party, Radoslav Procházka, announced that they have collected enough signatures to officially register their party, the TASR newswire learnt May 20.

While signatures of 10,000 are needed to register a party, Procházka said that they have exceeded that number by one third. He added that he will likely file a request with the Interior Ministry two days later. Former Christian Democrat MP Procházka, who did surprisingly well in the first round of the March presidential elections (third place, with 21.2 percent), presented his new party in Prešov on April 26.

Prochazka, 42, said back then that there are three meanings to the name of the party: “Network as a community of determined and skilled people from all corners of Slovakia who want to support these regions through their active involvement and by paying attention to their needs. The Network should be a solid community,” he said. The name Network also reflects the internal structure of the new party. Third, “the name is also a metaphor for our understanding of the state, which shouldn’t be a suffocating shroud that prevents one from moving, but instead should be a network of help and protection for those who find themselves in need,” said Procházka on April 26.

People have shouldered three quarters of the burden of the crisis so far, hence it is about time they were rewarded, Procházka told a press conference on May 20. The press conference was held to unveil the party’s draft of a national programme of “reward for people”. The initiative is built on three pillars, with the first of them built on slimming down the cabinet from 13 to 10 ministries. There is no need for a standalone Economy Ministry, and the Culture Ministry could fall under the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport. The Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry and the Environment Ministry could merge into one, said Procházka, who added that Sieť’s shadow government will be made up of 10 ministers.

As for the second pillar, this should focus on coordination and well-rounded use of EU funding. Third, Procházka suggested that proceeds from the privatisation of the state’s 49-percent stake in Slovak Telekom be used in equal proportions in two areas: to fund the state debt and to tend to people’s needs through allocating the money to municipalities, as the municipalities “have demonstrated an ability to manage funds in a more sensible way and have better knowledge of local realities”.

He went on to draw attention to a recent study by Deutsche Bank, according to which the Baltic States, Poland and Slovakia are best positioned to catch up with western European countries when it comes to the standard of living. “Solutions to crises have, to date, consisted of increasing the burden via taxes and levies. We need to change this point of view and reward people,” he summed up.

The party is now forming itself as a centre-right party, with structures located in 28 local centres in the 12 biggest cities of Slovakia and 16 regions. Procházka confirmed, as quoted by the SITA newswire, that he had been motivated to found a party by his third-place showing in the first round of the presidential election. He wants Sieť to attract young people, who clearly know what the regions in which they live are lacking. Their main rival on the political scene will be the ruling Smer party. Thus, they want to win as much support as possible.

(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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