PRESS digest: SME DAILY

"The opera of social democracy"
By Peter Javurek


The government of Robert Fico should quickly add a few points to its program spelling out its aims in areas such as opera, metrology, geology, hydrometeorology and museums. Otherwise, following the wave of dismissals that have been prepared in these areas, it will be difficult to see whether the party is following the words of its regional boss, Jana Laššáková, that "the government program can only be carried out by people who are in agreement with it". So far - at least from what we have seen in the region of Banská Bystrica - the alpha and omega of the government program at the regional level is to stick the coalition's people wherever possible.

The suspicion that the government coalition intends, as evidenced by the list that was published recently in the media (see page 8), to take over posts in the state opera, the regional state archives or the state scientific library, looks like a script for a satire, but there is not much comical in it. Especially given that the list includes the public media. We can talk forever about the professional qualifications of individual people to hold posts in the state administration, or about whether "it's the same" after every change in government. But that doesn't change the fact that there is a huge difference between professional qualifications and "agreeing with the government's program". Professionalism is sought in job tenders, not meetings of party leaders. What we are seeing is an ordinary division of the spoils, both in "prestige" jobs (the opera) and in "useful" posts (radio and television).

If the Fico coalition had any instinct for survival, its members would realize that in Slovakia, elections are often not decided by the contest of ideas but by the mundane irritation that people feel when confronted by the arrogance of power at the municipal level. In the current case, however, the government's survival instinct has been vanquished by its desire to govern totally, and totally confrontationally.

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