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Opposition prepares law to protect 'second pillar'

THREE parliamentary opposition parties - the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) - fear that the ruling coalition may attempt to change the rules regarding the capitalization pillar established as part of the pension reform under the previous government.

In order to prevent that, the opposition has submitted a draft constitutional amendment to parliament to protect the second pillar of the pension scheme.

This second pillar allows participants to save for their pensions in personal accounts with private pension fund management companies, in addition to contributing to the state-run, pay-as-you-go 'first pillar'.

The aim of the amendment is to defend pension savers against changes in the pension reform that would harm their interests. Ruling coalition politicians, particularly from the Smer party, have suggested they might change the ratio of contributions that people pay to the first and second pillars.

Currently, people pay 9 percent of their wages to each of the pillars. The government has threatened to decrease the amount earmarked for private pension funds in favour of the first pension pillar administered by the national social insurance company, Sociálna Poisťovňa (SP).

SDKÚ Deputy Chairwoman Iveta Radičová said she believed that by changing the rules the current government hoped to bring down SP's deficit.

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