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IN SHORT

Smer plans to oust Labour Minister

ROBERT Fico, chairman of opposition party Smer, announced December 6 that his party would submit a proposal calling for the resignation of Labour Minister Ľudovít Kaník.

Fico claimed that the reason behind the proposal is Kaník's incompetence in handling pension reform. He had attended an advertising event by one of the eight private pension companies, and okayed state-run social benefits agency Sociálna poisťovňa's pardoning of penalties against its debtors, which amount to a value of some Sk263,000 (around €6,700).

According to the November 18 agreement between the opposition parties which obliges them to jointly support the ousting of a government member, the former Slovak premier Vladimír Mečiar's HZDS and the Communist KSS party also have to support Smer's motion.

Together, the opposition parties have 60 votes but a simple majority of the 150 MPs, at least 76 votes, is needed for the recall of a government member.

The ruling coalition parties have not agreed to Smer's proposal, wrote the TASR news agency.

According to Minister Kaník, Smer chairman Fico "has no substantial and relevant arguments doubting the correctness of the new pension system" and he therefore "seeks to impair the citizens' growing confidence in the system via tabloid-style issues," Kaník said.

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