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NGO's call for more government decentralisation

Almost 200 delegates from Slovakia's non-governmental organizations (NGO's) met at the Stupava conference of the Third Sector Gremium the weekend of April 17-18 to discuss issues of decentralization of the public administration and government transparency.

The conference participants called on the government to take action and create more fertile legislation for civic activities. They added that the government still has not involved the citizens enough in managing their own affairs.

In order to encourage the growth of NGO's, the third sector representatives called for the law on foundations, non-investment funds, and non-profit organizations to be amended. To increase NGO funding, they also proposed that one-percent of paid income tax be allocated to NGO's. Alternately, they proposed that each citizen could be given the choice as to where he wanted his 1% "civil society" tax could go.

Gremium chairwoman Helena Woleková said she expects the passing of the tax measure in the upcoming months and forecast that it will be implemented from January 1, 2000.

The Gremium also hosted a presidential candidates forum April 15 and invited seven candidates. Only three: Magda Vášáryová, Boris Zala, and Michal Kováč, actually came to present their vision for strengthening civil society in Slovakia.

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