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HZDS likely to get security office seat

THE MOVEMENT for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) party, a member of the Slovak ruling coalition, appears likely to be given the post of head of the National Security Bureau, a key element in the country’s security apparatus.

Following unsuccessful attempts to have its candidates nominated to the leadership of the Slovak secret service and the police corps, the HZDS has settled on the security office as a means to increase its influence in the state sector.

The security office, or NBÚ, is responsible for vetting people and firms that come into contact with classified information and then issuing or withholding security clearances. Top state officials, as well as firms that trade in weapons or supply IT systems to government bodies require NBÚ certificates, giving the office enormous leverage.

According to the Sme daily, the coalition has already agreed informally to give the HZDS the post, although the deal must still be confirmed by the coalition council, a senior government body consisting of the heads of the three government parties.

The two names the HZDS has put forward for the post are František Blanárik, currently the military attaché at the Slovak embassy in Ukraine, and Juraj Zábojník, a management consultant.

Under the 1994-1998 government of HZDS Chairman Vladimír Mečiar, Blanárik was the chairman of a government commission for issuing licenses to trade in weapons, and from 2001-2002 was on the supervisory board of the arms trader Petina International.

Juraj Zábojník, meanwhile, is listed in the cibulka.com files of the ŠtB former communist secret police as having been a member of the division responsible for protecting constitutional officials. He is a co-owner of the G-Men security firm, along with three other former ŠtB officers from the same division, and was Mečiar’s personal bodyguard in the 1990s, according to the Pravda daily.

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