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Kaník survives yet again

LABOUR Minister Ľudovít Kaník looks set to continue in his post as the no-confidence motion against him February 2 failed to gain enough support.

The motion, proposed by Robert Fico's opposition Smer party, was supported by 63 MPs and opposed by 57. However, it did not achieve the majority required to force the minister from office.

There were 15 abstentions, including the leader of the Hungarian Coalition Party, Béla Bugár.

After the vote, Fico said that Kaník was like an avalanche that constantly collects fresh scandals.

Fico suggested there might be further no-confidence motions if new evidence comes to light.

Bugár said he did respect the coalition agreement not to vote against Kaník. Nevertheless, he felt that those in government have a duty to put their houses in order prior to taking office so as not to put the government as a whole at risk.

This was the second attempt to unseat Kaník in a very short time. It was based on very similar accusations to the previous attempt.

These relate to how the National Labour Office, partly controlled by Kaník's ministry, dealt with penalties for arrears on payroll taxes owed by Kaník's former firm.

The company’s local Labour Office cancelled the penalties after Kaník took up his post as minister.

In his defence, Kaník claims that the cancellation was part of a planned amnesty that applied to many firms.

Kaník has responsibility for some of the government's most ambitious reforms affecting the pensions and welfare sectors.

Recent months have seen a series of revelations concerning firms run by Kaník’s family.

Compiled by Roger Heyes from press reports
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