Banská Bystrica region boss Milan Murgaš has long served as evidence that the Smer party is incapable of dealing with improper behaviour within its own ranks.
When parliament passed a law making it illegal for universities to charge fees of their part-time students, Murgaš's Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica began collecting fees under camouflage. For this infraction Murgaš ceased to be a member of the Smer leadership, but the party still supported him in elections for the chairman of the Banská Bystrica self-governing region. Even before he was elected, the regional boss of the HZDS party published a transcript of a discussion in which Murgaš said: "When I say we are going to re-evaulate our hospitals I don't mean I am really going to re-evaulate them, but that it sounds good if I promise to do so".
Given that even this statement didn't sound so bad to voters, Murgaš was able as the boss of the region to announce "the end of party clientelism", before going on to fill important posts with his people from the university and the son of the regional Smer boss.
The recent tender for the region's health clinics can also serve as proof that Murgaš continues to do precisely what Smer has criticized in other politicians. The notice announcing the tender was posted for only a week on the boards of public offices and only for three days on the internet. The "competition" lasted for so short a time that the only firms that could have met its conditions were those that had been informed of the tender in advance. For Murgaš' office not to notice that the "winners" of the tender were mutually related and were led by people who have been charged with serious crimes, it must have worked hard to turn a blind eye, given that journalists uncovered these facts with little effort. Furthermore, the regional boss explained the fact that one of his own business partners was among the tender winners by saying that he doesn't know the man, and that the whole affair is a "plot" by an "unnamed" public official who didn't get what he wanted.
Murgaš's actions have not only discredited himself but also the party he belongs to. The way he is defending himself is an insult not only to the public but also to Smer.
Sme, March 5
12. Mar 2007 at 0:00