AFTER nearly 22 hours of discussion, the parliament completed its debate on the new government’s program manifesto in early morning hours of August 4, TASR wrote.
The parliament should vote on the program today. To approve the program, a simple majority of 76 MPs is required. The ruling coalition, composed of Robert Fico’s party Smer, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, and the Slovak National Party, has a strong majority of 85 MPs in parliament and thus a smooth passage of the document is expected.
During the debate, Fico said his government's program was realistic and that his government would be able to fulfill it over the next four years.
On the other hand, opposition MPs thrashed the plans of Fico’s new government during the debate. The main objections were that while the cabinet was pledging to fulfill all Maastricht criteria so that Slovakia can adopt the euro as planned in January 2009, the large amount of extra spending might spoil this plan.
Among other measures, Fico’s government wants to give more money to farmers, cancel health care fees, increase state support for housing projects and reduce VAT rate for selected goods and services.
The opposition argued that the higher spending was not balanced with any measures aimed at increasing budgetary income. Inevitably, they argued, the country’s budget deficit would increase or state debt would grow.
Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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