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Culture Minister on verge of dismissal

CULTURE Minister František Tóth appears likely to lose his job for using public money to fund what his ruling coalition colleagues believe was a campaignpitch for his Nadej party. The cabinet is due to meet today to discuss the minister's fate.

Tóth recently sent letters to 66,000 teachers, thanking them for joining a special Culture Ministry project granting free access for students to cultural establishments. óth. The minister also wrote that he understood the complicated situation in the education sector as well as its problems.

Tóth, a member of the non-parliamentary Nádej party, used Sk700,000 (€18,520) from the Culture Ministry's budget to pay for the letters, the SME daily wrote.

However, the minister said there was no reason he should resign over the letters. "I didn't break any laws," he protested.

According to SME, Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda was ready to fire Tóth yesterday, but eventually decided to summon a coalition meeting for today.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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