Political news roundup

October 1 - Interior Minister Vladimír Palko fires two police officers for attending a party hosted by Jozef Eštok on January 5, 2005. Eštok, an alleged mob figure in Eastern Slovakia, was killed three months after the party, in April 2005.

October 1- Interior Minister Vladimír Palko fires two police officers for attending a party hosted by Jozef Eštok on January 5, 2005. Eštok, an alleged mob figure in Eastern Slovakia, was killed three months after the party, in April 2005.

October 4 - President Ivan Gašparovič appoints Jirko Malchárek as the new economy minister. Malchárek replaces Pavol Rusko from the New Citizen's Alliance, who was dismissed after conflicts of interest.

October 4 - The Interior Ministry scraps 78 of Slovakia's 128 political parties from the register because only 42 parties delivered the legally required declaration regarding party headquarters and data about its statutory body to the ministry by the September 30 deadline. The process of liquidating political parties should last around a year.

October 5 - Labour Minister Ľudovít Kaník announces his resignation due to suspicions over abuse of power.

October 10 - Slovakia is elected a non-permanent member of the United Nations' Security Council starting in 2006 along with the Republic of Congo, Ghana, Peru and Qatar.

October 11 - Outgoing Labour Minister Ľudovít Kaník introduces a set of measures designed to improve the social situation of select groups in Slovakia. Among the measures is a one-off contribution to small firms that hire a job applicant with a history of long-term unemployment. Small firms can receive contributions for up to five such applicants.

October 14 - Pavol Kuljaček will fill the vacant seat left by Jirko Malchárek, who left to become economy minister. Mária Dachová and Michal Horváth also contested the seat, but Speaker of Parliament Pavol Hrušovský rejected their claims. Both Dachová and Horváth refused their right to be substitutes for previously vacant mandates. Therefore, Hrušovský ruled that their original decision to give up their right to a vacancy is binding.

October 15 - The ruling Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) decides to nominate sociologist Iveta Radičová as the new Labour Minister. She replaces Ľudovít Kaník, who resigned earlier in the month.

October 15 - Around 6,000 protesters gather at a rally against poverty organized in Banská Bystrica by the Trade Union Confederation. High unemploy-ment and low wages are the topics of discussion.

October 17 - Sociologist Iveta Radičová is appointed the new Labour Minister.

October 18 - The Constitutional Court rules that affirmative action as stipulated in Article 8 of the anti-discriminatory law does not comply with the Slovak Constitution. The article introduces positive discrimination on the basis of racial and ethnic origin. According to the top court, no form of discrimination can be tolerated, including positive discrimination. The law remains effective, except for the given clause.

October 19 - Pope Benedict XVI receives Speaker of Parliament Pavol Hrušovský. The Slovak official asks the Pope to bless Slovak politicians and citizens and to help them solve problems and settle conflicts in a better atmosphere.

October 23 - PM Mikuláš Dzurinda rules out cooperation with the opposition party, Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), after the next general elections. "I will never be in the same cabinet as [HZDS Chairman Vladimír] Mečiar," Dzurinda told the TA3 news channel.

October 24 - Mikuláš Dzurinda expresses confidence in Agriculture Minister Zsolt Simon, a member of the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK), after Simon is publicly criticized for accepting grants on behalf of his company, Agrotrade, from the ministry in 2003. Agrotrade received Sk8.5 million (€217,000) in 2003 when Simon was head of the ministry. Deputy Agriculture Minister Marián Radošovský also received grants from the ministry through his company, Farm. While Simon sold Agrotrade in 2004, Radošovský is still owner of Farm.

October 25 - Around 3,000 police officers gather at a rally in front of the cabinet office to protest low wages, particularly compared to professional soldiers. It is the first police protest of its kind in the history of the independent Slovak Republic. One day later, Interior Minister Vladimír Palko demotes the police union chairman, Miroslav Liva, from his managerial post to an ordinary officer.

October 27 - The BBC World Service decides to terminate its radio broadcasting in the Slovak language. Deputy Agriculture Minister Marián Radošovský announces that he will step down from his post in connection with the agricultural funding that his company, Farm, drew from the Agriculture Ministry. Agriculture Minister Zsolt Simon, whose firm also received funding, remains minister.

October 28 - MPs approve a revision to the free access to information law. Among other changes, it stipulates that the wages of public and municipal officials should be publicly accessible starting in January 2006.

October 31 - Brigadier General Juraj Baránek becomes the new commander in chief of the Slovak Air Force. His predecessor, Major General Jozef Dunaj, will take up a diplomatic post in Great Britain at the end of 2006.

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