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IN SHORT

Minister survives no-confidence vote

LABOUR Minister Ľudovít Kaník survived a no-confidence motion December 14 as the opposition failed to gather the required number of votes to sack him. Only 66 MPs, instead of the 76 needed, voted for his recall.

Kaník said that he has become a lightening rod for the opposition, which is unhappy with the leadership of the current ruling coalition, the daily SME wrote.

Opposition party Smer initiated the motion, accusing Kaník of mishandling pension reforms and taking part in an advertising campaign for one of the new private pension-fund management companies.

Kaník has also been accused of failing to pay payroll taxes on behalf of his employees to social security provider Sociálna poisťovňa between 1997-1999. The state-run company pardoned Kaník, and fined him Sk263,000 (€6,600).

Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš defended Kaník, saying that he had created a social system in which it pays to work and not depend on state handouts.

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