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Radičová sworn in as minister of labour, social affairs and the family

PRESIDENT Ivan Gašparovič named Iveta Radičová as Slovakia's new Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and the Family on October 17, thirty minutes after the resignation of outgoing Minister Ľudovít Kaník, the TASR news wire reported.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Gašparovič commented that Radičová is familiar with and a part of the reforms in the ministry. "I'm convinced that she will understand the reforms and will continue them," Gašparovič said.

Radičová said that she would try to eliminate the negatives in the ministry and replace them with positives. "I'll try to make responsible decisions determined by social justice and solidarity. I'll try to bring a smile to the faces of Slovaks. Not an ironic but a generous smile," the new minister said.

Kaník announced his intention to resign on October 5, after it was revealed that his family firm "Kaník a spol." (Kaník and Company) had applied for a Sk22-million (€557,000) grant from the EU Structural Fund via the Slovak Tourism Agency (SACR). Kaník decided to resign by himself and admitted that he and his family had made a mistake when their company asked for money from the EU funds.

Kaník was nominated by the ruling SDKÚ, to which this ministerial chair belongs according to the power-sharing agreement drawn up following the September 2002 elections. Kaník began his term in office on October 16, 2002.

The SDKÚ's Executive Board approved Radičová's nomination on Saturday. The coalition and also the opposition welcomed this decision. She is the first woman in the cabinet of the second government of Premier Mikuláš Dzurinda.

Three months ago Radičová became chair of the Sociological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Science (SAV), where she has worked for 26 years. For some time she worked as Kaník's adviser. Besides her SAV work, Radičová is also the head of the NGO Centre for Social Policy Analysis.

Compiled by Magdalena MacLeod from press reports
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