Although weekend TV debates among politicians don't tend to be academic disputes, that doesn't mean they don't occasionally produce myths.
According to opposition SDKÚ party vice-chairman Ivan Mikloš, parliament's re-election of Pavol Kandráč as ombudsman is a case of the government's failing to respect the unwritten rules of the game "that we, when we were in government, respected".
This is not true. In March 2002 the current opposition parties did not elect Kandráč out of respect for the principle that the post belongs to the opposition, but because some of the MPs in the SOP and SDĽ ruling parties failed to vote for the government's candidate and supported Kandráč instead. Kandráč, a former Communist Party member and attorney for the Central Committee of the Slovak National Front, became ombudsman not because MPs around Dzurinda, Bugár and Hrušovský respected unwritten rules, but because MPs around Hamžík and Migaš did not respect the coalition agreement. The current opposition would be more effective against Fico today if as a coalition it had respected the rules it claims to have followed back then.
Smer MP Boris Zala was very offended by Mikloš' claim that the prime minister is lying in his remarks on the second pillar of the pension system. "Even if we make mistakes, it is with the best of intentions, but you keep accusing us of lying", Zala complained.
Everyone can make mistakes, but the way in which the PM and his party supporters are "mistaken" on pensions rules out the possibility that their intentions are good. When Fico said for the first time that the law on pension savings companies "does not prevent pension savings from being invested in risky assets", he could have been mistaken. But if he keeps repeating it after countless corrections, and turns his "mistake" into the foundation of his attacks on the pension system in parliament, then his error is intentional and in bad faith.
Sme, February 6
12. Feb 2007 at 0:00