Construction and Regional Development Minister Igor Štefanov (Slovak National Party/SNS) will retain his post after the opposition's no-confidence motion in him in Parliament on Wednesday, May 20, was unsuccessful, the TASR newswire wrote.
Out of the 103 MPs present, only 51 voted in favour of the motion and 76 votes are necessary to dismiss a minister. Štefanov was facing the second attempt to dismiss him in Parliament since he took up the post on April 15. The three opposition parties (SDKÚ,KDH and SMK) had submitted the 30 signatures necessary to convene the session.
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, who resigned from the ministerial post due to the 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.
The opposition claimed that Śtefanov was also responsible for the tender. Prior to the voting, the government declared its confidence in Štefanov, describing the arguments included in the proposal as biased and not corresponding to the truth.
Members of the cabinet had not even read the opposition's proposal to dismiss Štefanov and were pulling people's legs in the statement that the government issued earlier in the day regarding the opposition's initiative to remove him, opposition Christian Democrat (KDH) MP Július Brocka said at the parliamentary session on that day.
According to Brocka, the opposition's proposal to dismiss the minister contains enough reasons for Štefanov to be removed. He has been described by the media as the “right-hand man” of former construction and regional development minister Janušek and had signed invoices submitted by the companies while occupying the lower ministry post.
Slovak deputy Speaker of Parliament Tibor Cabaj (ruling coalition HZDS) said that he regarded the attempt to dismiss Stefanov earlier on the day as an obligatory process and he called the discussion in the Parliament stereotypical.
“I have experienced various things in the Parliament, but not such a feeble parliamentary debate,” Cabaj told TASR regarding the result of the session. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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21. May 2009 at 10:00