ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Parliament back at square one with FNM leaders

Parliament failed to elect either a president or vice-president of the FNM state privatisation agency in a secret ballot on the evening of December 1, as neither of the two candidates obtained the needed support from MP's. Igor Hudoba, the chancellor of Slovak Technical University, had been nominated by the cabinet for the post of FNM President and gained 63 votes in the 150 seat chamber.

The cabinet candidate's for FNM Vice-President, Bohuslav Brendza, received the support of 55 deputies. The top jobs at the FNM have been vacant since October 20 when the parliament dismissed FNM President Ľudovít Kaník and FNM Vice-President Ladislav Sklenár in a secret ballot at the cabinet's request. Prime Minister Dzurinda's reason for this action was the failure of the FNM to regain government control over the gas storage company Nafta Gbely.

The Democratic Party (DS) declared in advance of the December 1 that it would not vote for the proposed candidates, because its coalition partners had not kept a coalition agreement that the FNM President should be a DS candidate. The DS had nominated party member Vladimír Ondruš for the post, but he was not accepted by Dzurinda.

Ladislav Orosz from the Party of the Democratic Left (SDĽ) ascribed the voting results to bickering between factions within the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK), and said that the next round of elections of FNM top officials must be preceded by political negotiation between coalition parties.

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