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Coalition crisis over Jureňa deepens

HZDS boss Vladimír Mečiar has threatened that if Prime Minister Robert Fico stops supporting HZDS Agriculture Minister Miroslav Jureňa, his party would stop supporting the PM.

Mečiar was reacting to an official statement by Fico’s Smer party suggesting that Smer is prepared to take any steps to make sure there are consequences to the scandal around the Slovak Land Fund (SPF).

SPF deputy chairman Branislav Bríza, another HZDS nominee, signed several contracts for dubious land transfers when he was substituting for his boss.

The Pravda daily wrote on November 14 that the ruling coalition has found itself in the most serious crisis since the beginning of this term. Fico told Mečiar for the second time this month he could rule without the HZDS.

Mečiar's attempt to take down the prime minister in parliament could lead to the fall of the government and early elections.

The Sme daily wrote that Fico's request for the HZDS to fire its nominee was the least that he could have demanded. However, Jureňa and Mečiar said he was asking too much.

-SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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