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PRESS digest: SME DAILY

News item: On October 12 the Fico government celebrated 100 days in power.


Who is calling the tune?
By Peter Javurek


The papers are full of reports that on October 12 the Fico government passed the 100-day mark since taking office. When we remember how fiercely the government demanded that this senseless protective period be observed by the media, we can't refrain from a bitter smile.

Who knows how Fico himself imagined what the 100-day accounts of his government would look like? Probably not the way they appear today. These first days were not under his control, but under the control of his partners. The same ones he chose in the fond imagination they would stand around mute while Smer embarked on a victory parade towards a social state.

What was the theme of 2006 elections? Dzurinda's SDKÚ bet that voters would link their personal successes to the economic reforms the party pursued - and lost. The SDKÚ didn't manage to find enough people who felt personally successful to counterbalance those who had been left unsure, confused and frustrated by reforms, and who as a result voted for Fico's Smer. The wider theme of the elections was reforms, the narrower the flat tax as the symbol of an era.

What was the post-election reality? While Smer with its economic agenda stumbled, improvised and marched in place, PM Robert Fico had to put out fires that were set by his partners. Thanks to Ján Slota he first lost the euro-parliamentary ground under his feet and suddenly and unwillingly underwent a quick lesson in solving diplomatic problems with Hungary. Vladimír Mečiar on the other hand kept the PM busy by raising the pressure on personnel appointments to important institutions, while Mečiar's nominee to the Justice Ministry, Štefan Harabin, is now preparing a scandal in the judiciary that will have long-term consequences.

The first 100 days of the Fico government were not about the same themes as elections, nor were they even about Fico. The prime minister is now on board a train of events that were sparked by the nature of the government he chose. And it serves him right. If only we weren't all on the same train with him.

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