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IVO likens PM Fico to Putin

The Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) independent think tank is protesting the tone and contents of Prime Minister Robert Fico's reaction to its annual report on the state of society.

The Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) independent think tank is protesting the tone and contents of Prime Minister Robert Fico's reaction to its annual report on the state of society.

IVO wants the PM to discuss the report, but it seems he prefers a monologue, it said. The report’s main authors - Grigorij Mesežnikov, Martin Bútora and Miroslav Kollár - wrote on behalf of the think tank that they neither represent a political party nor are competing with the PM for power, the SITA newswire wrote.

IVO has been around for more than 10 years, which is longer than the Smer party has existed, and much longer than the current government has been in power, the authors said.

IVO is a renowned institution that has more than 120 publications to its name, has conducted dozens of surveys and organised dozens of international conferences.

IVO suggests that the PM is making accusations despite likely not having read the report. IVO presents itself as an independent NGO and rejects allegations of an political orientation. Its representatives are concerned that Fico's accusations might threaten freedom of scientific research in Slovakia. Moreover, IVO considers his attitude a symptom of an authoritarian way of thinking that is unprecedented in a democratic Europe. It compared Fico to Russian President Vladimír Putin.

The rising influence of the state, tyranny of the majority, cronyism, decreased legal certainty and suppression of the third sector and of the opposition were characteristic of 2007 in Slovakia, according to the IVO report.

The report states with concern that the government deviated more and more from the principles of the rule of law last year. IVO analysts also point to a rise in nationalism and aggressiveness in the rhetoric of the government, moving backward on the changes following the fall of communism and efforts to gradually take over control of public media.

IVO President Mesežnikov sees significant parallels between the current government of Robert Fico and the 1994-1998 government of Vladimír Mečiar, which led to international isolation. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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