News Briefs

Dzurinda outlines priorities for coming year
Markant poll shows dip in HZDS support
Čarnogurský recovers at Kováčová Centre
Prosecutor cancels charges against SNS's Moric

Dzurinda outlines priorities for coming year

Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda January 9 outlined the government's priorities for 2001, saying that good progress on NATO and European Union accession was among the most important cabinet objectives this year.
Dzurinda said that to fulfill requirements of both organisations, amendments to the constitution and reform of public administration must be carried out.
The Prime Minister pledged he would do everything to achieve a principal political agreement on these issues by the end of this month.
He said that another key priority was the creation of an effective business environment. This, he said, required adoption of laws on investment incentives and industrial parks, complete privatisation in the banking sector and natural monopolies, and a further decrease in interest rates.
He cited other vital tasks for the government such as improving the overall standard of living, reflected in growth of real wages, purchase power, mobility of labour and reduction of unemployment, while also saying that the fight against crime and corruption was high on the government's agenda.

Markant poll shows dip in HZDS support

Results of a poll carried out by the Markant agency canvassing 1046 people showed that the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) would collect 24.2% of votes were parliamentary elections held now.
The poll, conducted in late December, suggests that the HZDS would carry 2.7% less support than in November. The Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKŮ)
would follow with 17.6% and Robert Fico's Smer party would gain 14.5%.

Čarnogurský recovers at Kováčová Centre

Slovak Justice Minister Ján Čarnogurský, who suffered injuries in a motor accident in December which left two people dead, is recovering at the Kováčová Rehabilitation Centre, Justice Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Krajniaková said January 8.
Krajniaková added that the minister's condition had been slowly improving since the accident and that ministry colleagues are in phone contact with him every day.
Čarnogursky's driver is believed to have caused the December 15 crash at Staré Hory in the Banská Bystrica district. The minister is thought to have only escaped death himself because he was in an armoured BMW car, used because of the threat of a potential assassination attempt, authorities said.

Prosecutor cancels charges against SNS's Moric

Radio TWIST said January 5 that Bratislava 1 district prosecutor Michal Barila upheld an appeal from Slovak National Party (SNS) deputy Víťazoslav Moric on charges brought against him of instigating national and racial hatred. Police investigators had charged Moric in early October with the offences.
However, police spokeswoman Magda Krasulová said that though the appeal had been upheld the matter is still subject to investigation and that new evidence may come to light leading to further charges.
The original charges came after an SNS press conference in early August at which Moric suggested the creation of reservations for Romanies, saying there was nothing illegal about creating reservations and suggesting that when it comes to crimes committed by Romanies, " is necessary to penalise the Gypsies severely, extremely severely".
On August 8, Prosecutor General Milan Hanzel passed on to a police investigator a complaint submitted by the Civil-Democratic Youth that accusing Moric of instigating racial hatred and violence against a different race and ethnic group. Following widespread protest Moric claimed that his words had been aimed at stirring discussion of the Romany problem.

Compiled by Ed Holt from SITA and TASR

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