Ján Čarnogurský survives vote of non confidence
After an opposition-dominated nine-hour discussion in parliament on September 8, MP's voted against the dismissal of Justice Minister and head of the Christian Democratic party (KDH) Ján Čarnogurský. Of 117 present deputies, 54 voted against his dismissal, 44 were in favour, and 19 abstained from voting.
The vote was initiated by the opposition parties Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and the Slovak National Party (SNS). The parties sought Čarnogurský's dismissal because, they charged, under his guidance the judiciary was becoming nonfunctional and politicised, and because of his efforts to oust the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, SNS-nominated Štefan Harabin.
Committee fails to lift Móric's immunity
The Mandate and Immunity Committee failed to approve a recommendation on September 7 to lift the parliamentary immunity of opposition Slovak National Party (SNS) deputy Vitazoslav Móric. Police want to investigate Móric for stirring racial hatred and violence against a different race and ethnic group for comments he made about Slovak gypsies last month.
After the hearing, during which the MP sarcastically asked the committee if his case would be debated in the Romany language, Móric shouted obscenities at two photographers. He later explained that the photographers had been "blinding" him with their flash bulbs.
Móric has come under fire for statements he made calling for reservations to be established for gypsies, and for asking "what is humane about allowing idiots to impregnate idiots?" He also said that in order to curb crime in the Roma community, "it is necessary to penalize the gypsies severely, super severely."
Physicians' trade union launches hunger strike
Marian Kollar, the chairman of the Physicians' Trade Union (LOZ), said that Slovak doctors are not responsibile for current conditions in the health-care sector, however they have been bearing the consequences of it for years. In protest, the LOZ leader announced a hunger strike among Slovak physicians which he said would continue until the union's demands for health-care sector reform and improved salaries were met.
The hunger-striking group of 12 physicians began their protest in front of the parliament building in Bratislava on September 12.
Compiled by Chris Togneri