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PM hands Slovak president proposal to recall Economy Minister Rusko

ECONOMY Minister Pavol Rusko refuses to resign from office, even though Prime Minsiter Mikuláš Dzurinda asked him to do so by 10:00 Wednesday morning (August 24). As promised, Dzurinda has submitted a proposal to Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič asking him to recall Rusko from his post.

Late Tuesday night (August 23), New Citizens Alliance (ANO) board members held a special meeting to discuss Dzurinda's request that Rusko resign. Agitated ANO members considered sacking the deputy chairmen of the party, Ľubomír Lintner and Jirko Malchárek, for failing to support Rusko after the economy minister attempted to clear his name regarding a suspicious financial matter, in which the minister signed bills of exchange (debts) that obligated him to a Slovak businessman.

ANO members also proposed that the party recall its appointees, Health Minister Rudolf Zajac and Culture Minister František Tóth, for refusing to support Rusko as well.

Eight members of the ANO deputy club and two ANO ministers announced that Rusko’s financial dealings are incompatible with his functioning in a public position. They even called for a special congress of the party.

Dzurinda originally gave Rusko until August 29 to resign, but due to a suspicious transfer on Monday, August 24, by the Economy Minister of Sk1.5 billion to a private company, he insisted that the minister vacate his post on Wednesday.

The ruling coalition partners still believe that the ANO will not quit the coalition and that the cabinet will be able to complete its term. Rusko complained that the ruling coalition had already made up its mind, that nobody cared about his explanation of how he paid the bills of exchange worth Sk100 million, the daily SME reported.

Rusko bought advertisement space in the national media, which has published a letter to Slovakia with his explanation.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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