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Government to discuss opposition's no-confidence motion in Štefanov

The government will hold an extraordinary session on April 21 to deal with the opposition parties’ no-confidence motion in newly-appointed Construction and Regional Development Minister Igor Štefanov (Slovak National Party/SNS). The government's stance on the issue will be stated at the session and will take the form of a recommendation to parliament concerning the vote, the TASR newswire wrote.

The government will hold an extraordinary session on April 21 to deal with the opposition parties’ no-confidence motion in newly-appointed Construction and Regional Development Minister Igor Štefanov (Slovak National Party/SNS). The government's stance on the issue will be stated at the session and will take the form of a recommendation to parliament concerning the vote, the TASR newswire wrote.

A parliamentary session with a no-confidence motion on the new construction minister on its agenda must be summoned sometime this week. In all previous cases when the opposition initiated no-confidence votes in ministers or in Prime Minister Robert Fico the government has rejected the move. Fico earlier labelled the opposition's step as a display of its absolute helplessness and frustration after losing the recent presidential election.

“The parliamentary opposition revived an unprecedented situation in which it submitted a proposal for a no-confidence vote in PM Robert Fico immediately after (Parliament passed) a declaration of confidence in the government. The opposition has even surpassed its absurd record today,” reads a document submitted to TASR by the government's press department director Braňo Ondruš last week.

The three parliamentary opposition parties (SDKÚ-DS, the Christian Democrats/KDH and ethnic-Hungarian SMK) collected 51 signatures in Parliament and submitted the no-confidence proposal on Stefanov only one day after he was appointed to the post on April 15.

Július Brocka (KDH) said that he had expected Fico to learn lessons from the controversial ‘bulletin-board tender’ in which Stefanov's predecessor Marian Janusek had to leave his ministerial post. Brocka claims, however, that Stefanov's appointment has dashed any such hopes.

According to SMK vice-chairman Ivan Farkaš, Štefanov was an initiator and orchestrator of the tender in question, so Fico's decision to appoint him as the minister was the wrong one. SDKÚ-DS chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda said last week that Štefanov's appointment to his new post is a mockery of all democratic principles.

On April 20 Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška (Smer-SD) announced that the 36th parliamentary session, with a no-confidence motion in newly-appointed Construction and Regional Development Minister Igor Stefanov as the only item on the agenda, will take place in the evening of April 21.

The three opposition parties collected 51 signatures in parliament to submit the no-confidence proposal but they need 76 votes to dismiss the new minister and have only 65 MPs in Parliament.

Štefanov previously held the post of general director of the ministry's Agency for the Support of Regional Development and is described by the media as the ‘right-hand man’ of his predecessor Marian Janušek (both members of the Slovak National Party/SNS). Janušek resigned from the ministerial post due to the dubious, so-called bulletin-board tender worth €120 million that was won by a consortium including two companies - Zamedia and Avocat - purportedly close to SNS leader Ján Slota. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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