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Storm, mudslides wreak havoc in Terchová HEAVY storms on the evening of July 21 caused flooding which destroyed dozens of cars and the road leading from Terchová village to the Vrátna Dolina, a valley in the Malá Fatra mountains. The nearby city of Žilina had problems with torrential rain, reporting flooded cellars, roads and pavement. 28 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Keeping it in the kitchen EDITORIAL THOSE who thought Radoslav Procházka, the right-leaning political star with an inflated ego and lofty ambitions, would bring a new, distinctive political culture to Slovakia, were wrong. His brief performance as caretaker of the non-parliamentary party Sieť suggests that he too believes that whatever is cooking with financing political campaigns is best kept locked away in the kitchen. Voters don’t need to know how the sausage is made so long as they like the taste, the thinking goes.If there were ever a requirement for somebody espousing a new way of doing politics it would be to change this practice. The tradition of an open and transparent political sponsorship is almost non-existent and in Slovakia, the quagmire of campaign finance has dragged down even politicians who actually make contributions to the country’s progress through reforms. But they are always remembered for failing to keep the books of their parties clean and transparent. 28 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
MH-17 Slovak Word of the Week THE TRAGEDY of flight MH-17 stirred several reactions in Slovakia. There was compassion. Among some, there was some disappointment with a government reluctant to take a firm stand, and willing to still consider Russian companies as suitable investors in such fields as energy. There was a bit of a surprise at the number of people ready to listen to and spread the arguments of Kremlin propaganda (although a recent poll showing that over 80 percent of Slovaks feel Ukrainians should decide about their own future without Russian meddling is somewhat comforting). 24 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Scratching the surface EDITORIAL GIVEN the state of the education sector in Slovakia and the challenges it faces, many would agree that Dušan Čaplovič deserved to be sacked as education minister. While Prime Minister Robert Fico offered no forthright explanation as to why Čaplovič was asked to quit and why Tomáš Malatinský will no longer serve as economy minister, it seems apparent that they were thrown overboard for the wrong reasons. 14 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Voda Slovak Word of the Week YOU would almost think Slovakia was a desert nation. Yet the only droughts the country is suffering from are intellectual. 10 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Theatrics trumping politics EDITORIAL IGOR Matovič, suffering from an acute case of political exhibitionism, has accused a rising right-leaning political star with an inflated ego of murky financing of his presidential campaign, which brought Radoslav Procházka enough popularity to beat his former mother party in recent polls. The political melodrama, which already involves lie detector testing, secret recordings and claims of political assassination, would be entertaining if it didn’t actually reflect the misery of centre-to-right-wing parties in Slovakia. 30 Jun 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Poradný výbor na preskúmanie vhodnosti kandidátov na sudcov ÚS Slovak Word of the Week THE TWO men could not be more different. Ivan Gašparovič was not known for his lust for work. He was however for his membership in the Communist party and Vladimír Mečiar’s HZDS, and his ‘near-membership’ in Robert Fico’s Smer. These are lessons in political opportunism, which helped the former head of state spend most of his adult life in a high public office. New President Andrej Kiska seems to be constantly on the lookout for anew career, business and spiritual challenges, having tried retail, charity, Buddhism, Judaism and almost everything in between along the way. His honesty about campaign finance, total independence from parties and a complete lack of experience with politics set a new precedent for who can become president and how. 26 Jun 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Otázky Slovak Word of the Week LOVE stats? Then you might be interested to learn which word Andrej Kiska used the most in his inaugural address. If you strike all the “ands”, “buts”, “wills”, “wes”, “presidents” and “Slovakias”, and look at those words that actually matter, the clear winner is “questions” (he used it nine times). Even classics such as “people” (8), “country” (8), “life” (6), “state” (6), “solutions” (5) and “security” (4) were left behind. This is clearly a curious president. 19 Jun 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Gašparovič's adieu EDITORIAL IVAN Gašparovič is leaving the presidential seat that he occupied for a decade without any fond memories of the media, and he made sure everyone was made aware of this during his exit speech to parliament. 16 Jun 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Gašparovič, Ivan IF THERE were ever an instance of Sophie’s choice in reverse, it was in the second round of the Slovak 2004 presidential election. How do you choose between two men, neither of whom you want? In the end, Ivan Gašparovič beat his former boss Vladimír Mečiar and managed to hold the office for two terms. On June 15, Gašparovič will enter political retirement. What will he be remembered for? 12 Jun 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Insiders and outsiders Editorial FEW have ever thought that Prime Minister Robert Fico’s government is exceedingly minority-friendly or that it is making Slovakia more open to diversity. However, the latest quirky political matrimony between the ruling Smer, a self-declared social democratic party, with the conservative Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), leaves very little doubt about the attitude of Slovakia’s government and part of the opposition towards minorities or the concept of a modern diverse society in general. 5 Jun 2014 The Slovak Spectator
1968 Slovak Word of the Week YOU could almost hear the sigh of relief. Children all across the country took to the streets to celebrate the fact that their families will now finally be protected by the constitution. Replacing the words “Marriage, parenthood and the family are protected by the law” with the phrase “Marriage is a unique union between a man and a woman. The Slovak Republic protects and supports marriage in all aspects” seems like an incredibly small step for broken families, neglected children, or single moms, but judging by the ecstatic reactions of local conservatives, it is a giant leap for traditional values. 5 Jun 2014 The Slovak Spectator
The apathy blame game EDITORIAL SLOVAKIA managed to avoid serious trauma despite posting the lowest ever voter turnout in the recent European Parliament elections. At 13 percent, Slovakia was the most uninterested nation in the European Union and pundits were busy pondering why it was possible for someone to reach the EP with as few as 14,896 votes. The explanations vary, but the fact that this is a real crisis for democracy is not in question. 2 Jun 2014 The Slovak Spectator
13 Slovak Word of the Week THIS MONTH, Slovak politics seems to revolve around the number 13. First, Radoslav Procházka’s Sieť got 13 percent in the Focus opinion poll, turning the party into a leader of the right. Then only 13 percent of voters turned out to elect the country’s 13 MEPs. So what is the number trying to tell us? Tough to say. 29 May 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Harabin's parallel universe EDITORIAL ŠTEFAN Harabin has not mastered the art of departure, thus joining the extensive family of Slovak public figures who chose to interpret rejection as endorsement, defeat as victory and a lack of public confidence as confirmation that they are the right person in the right place at the right time. Harabin’s many critics called May 19, the day when he failed in his bid for re-election as the head of the Supreme Court and the Judicial Council, good news for the country - the beginning of a long-awaited change, a day of hope and a victory for the people. 26 May 2014 The Slovak Spectator
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Quote of the Week
“I have been waiting for seven weeks, naively [thinking] … that he would come and say: ‘Yes people, I was fooling you. I am sorry; try to forgive me’.” OĽaNO head Igor Matovič responding to Sieť leader Radoslav Procházka’s claims that the recording on which the two discuss the latter’s presidential campaign funding was heavily edited.