Prime Minister Robert Fico issued an apology on Wednesday, March 25, to opposition presidential candidate Iveta Radičová and to protester Jozef Ťažiar for an incident yesterday in which he publicly accused Ťažiar of being a “paid provocateur of Iveta Radičová.”
The accusation came after Ťažiar held a one-man protest on Tuesday during a public ceremony attended by the prime minister and President Ivan Gašparovič in Trenčín Region. Ťažiar was carrying a banner saying “Stealing like in totalitarian times, this is the Slovak way of freedom and democracy,” the SITA newswire reported.
“These paid provocations are even more bizarre particularly in a mining region, because while Radičová was taking miners’ money, the current Slovak government and the president always tried to preserve brown coal extraction and jobs in this region,” Fico said on Tuesday.
Referring to Radičová, he added “she is showing her real face. On TV and with the support of actors she is talking about dialogue, but in reality she lets her supporters vulgarly attack the prime minister and the president on the internet, and disturbs planned official work activities by paying protesters who don’t even know what they hold above their head.”
However, the Press and Information Department of the Cabinet Office on Wednesday, March 25, issued a statement saying: “On March 24, 2009 during an official event … Slovak PM Robert Fico called a protesting citizen a supporter of Radičová on the basis of wrong information received on the spot saying that he was an opposition supporter.”
Jozef Ťažiar told the Sme daily that he voted for Fico in the last general election, but has since changed his mind because of laws approved by the government which, according to him, allow theft from citizens. He claims he refused to sign a bad contract concerning the purchase of his land by the state, and ended up having his land expropriated. “I wrote him a letter, he didn't even answer, they ignored me,” said Ťažiar, from Opatovce nad Nitrou. According to the Press and Information Department of the Cabinet Office, Fico has ordered Ťažiar’s case to be examined, and invited Ťažiar to the Cabinet Office to settle personally what it called “the misunderstanding”. SITA, Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.