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HZDS takes crucial post

JÁN Jasovský from the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) was elected the new chairman of the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ), the Slovak government's top financial oversight organization. Zora Dobríková of the ruling Slovak Democratic and Christian Union will become the NKÚ's new deputy chairwoman.
In a second round of secret ballot voting December 7, Jasovský earned 79 parliamentary votes - 19 more votes than there are opposition members of parliament.


Coalition breaks ranks to elect opposition candidate to Supreme Audit Office
photo: TASR

JÁN Jasovský from the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) was elected the new chairman of the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ), the Slovak government's top financial oversight organization. Zora Dobríková of the ruling Slovak Democratic and Christian Union will become the NKÚ's new deputy chairwoman.

In a second round of secret ballot voting December 7, Jasovský earned 79 parliamentary votes - 19 more votes than there are opposition members of parliament. Coalition party members refuse to reveal who supported the opposition candidate. Dobríková gained 82 votes.

In the first round of voting, none of the candidates for chairman gained enough votes to win.

Jasovský declared that his goal as chairman would be to maintain independence and objectivity in the post. He said that by electing him, parliament recognized his abilities to do the job, although he did admit that his party peers likely negotiated in parliament to help him gain the seat.

Current law puts Jasovský at the helm for seven years. The present NKÚ chairman, Jozef Stahl, is ending a five-year term December 15. Stahl resisted leaving his post, even though the term law changed after Stahl took office.

"I want to hand over my post according to the law, and I will only conform to the decision of the Constitutional Court," Stahl said.

Legislators rejected Stahl's argument, saying that the law extending the five-year chairman term took affect after Stahl was elected, and thus did not apply to his term.

"Stahl was elected when the law stipulated the election term at five years," said Katarína Tóthová from the HZDS.

Regardless of Stahl's contest, parliament decided to move forward with State Audit Office elections December 7, stating that the term extension was not retroactive and could not be applied to Stahl.

It is unclear whether Stahl will turn to the Constitutional Court after Jasovský's election.

Jasovský, 55, has been a member of parliament for the HZDS since 1998. According to the SITA news agency, Vladimír Pavelka will replace his position as member of parliament.

Jasovský led the state-owned postal company Slovenská pošta between 1995 and 1997. In April 1997, he acted as Transport Minister in the Vladimír Mečiar cabinet and stayed there until the government ended its term in 1998.

Jasovský pledged to carry out his new duties independently and expertly. "The question of political independence is very important. If I didn't act independently I would make trouble for myself," he said. Jasovský will take office December 16.

The closest competitor for the chairmanship, Smer member of parliament Pavol Pavliš, earned just 26 votes in the first round of the election. In that round, Jasovský took 64 votes.

Before the election, Smer officials suggested that the HZDS and the ruling Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) were plotting cooperation to support a common candidate. The SDKÚ denied the allegations.

According to Milan Hort from the SDKÚ, his party did not support Jasovský's rise to the top NKÚ post, suggesting that other coalition parties should look to their ranks instead.

"Our caucus was the only one that respected the ruling coalition agreement that stipulates that ruling coalition members should not endorse opposition candidates. I think I can guarantee that none [of the SDKÚ] members supported Jasovský," Hort said.

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