IN SHORT

Culture Minister confirms departure

CULTURE Minister Rudolf Chmel confirmed that he was planning to step down from the cabinet of Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda.

The minister, a member of the ruling New Citizen's Alliance (ANO) party, told the daily SME that the reasons for his decision to go were "complex". He did not give a specific date for his departure.

However, according to SME, one of the reasons for Chmel's decision may be the alleged dispute between ANO's regional party structures and the Culture Minister about where money for the repairs of cultural sights, supplied by the gas utility Slovenský plynárenský priemysel (SPP), should be going.

Without proper explanation, the Culture Ministry has recently halted several already sanctioned repair projects. The SPP said the Culture and Economy Ministries initiated the decision. ANO chairman Pavol Rusko, the state's Economy Minister, rejects the SPP's explanation.

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