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Government passes new conflict of interest bill

Cabinet yesterday at its regular meeting approved a conflict of interest bill, sending it to parliament for approval during the June session. The legislature only last month rejected a similar bill by a solid 15 votes.

Backers of the government bill said the new draft would likely win more support as it removed two major barriers to approval of the former legislation: It allowed deputy ministers to resume parliament seats if they left office, and it allowed mayors and local town councilors to hold seats in parliament.

Deputy PM Ivan Mikloš, the main force behind the bill, saw it through cabinet with unanimous assent, and wants it passed in parliament in accelerated legislative proceedings. It would take effect January 1, 2003 if passed, and would require the immediate family members of public officials to declare their assets, a major step towards increasing transparency in the civil service.

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