NEWS IN SHORT

Harabin survives no-confidence vote

OPPOSITION MPs failed in their attempt to pass a motion of no confidence in Justice Minister Štefan Harabin on September 4. The opposition wanted Harabin sacked because of his alleged friendship with Baki Sadiki, an Albanian man living in Slovakia who has been accused of involvement in the heroin trade and convicted of crimes including illegal possession of firearms.

OPPOSITION MPs failed in their attempt to pass a motion of no confidence in Justice Minister Štefan Harabin on September 4. The opposition wanted Harabin sacked because of his alleged friendship with Baki Sadiki, an Albanian man living in Slovakia who has been accused of involvement in the heroin trade and convicted of crimes including illegal possession of firearms.

Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška convened the extraordinary session at the request of MPs from the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union and Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), and several non-aligned deputies. A former justice minister, Daniel Lipšic (KDH), opened the debate by urging Harabin to explain his friendly relations with Sadiki. He then reproached Prime Minister Robert Fico for not sacking his minister after the contacts with Sadiki came to light.

Included in the opposition's proposal to recall the minister was a tape-recording of a telephone conversation between Harabin (who was a Supreme Court judge at the time) and Sadiki from 1994, which the opposition said confirmed the pair's close relations, as well as a request by the head of the penal department of the General Prosecution Office, Peter Fillip, that Harabin be excluded from decision-making regarding Sadiki.

Prime Minister Robert Fico described the no-confidence motion as ungrounded. He said that Harabin, when a judge, did not violate his legal duties but proceeded in line with the law. He said that documents allegedly proving Harabin' confidential contacts with Sadiki have never been part of the criminal file on Sadiki. Fico also stated that Harabin had successfully passed a National Security Office (NBÚ) check.

The opposition motion was defeated by the government majority in parliament. It was the fourth no-confidence motion against a minister which the opposition has failed to carry in the present parliament.


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