The leader of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), Vladimír Mečiar, told a press conference on August 25 that he will ask Agriculture Minister Stanislav Becík (a HZDS nominee) to return his ministerial mandate to the party on August 26.
Mečiar was speaking on the sidelines of an extraordinary meeting of the party’s leadership committee at HZDS headquarters in Bratislava. The HZDS is one of the junior partners in Slovakia’s current ruling coalition.
He said that the party's top representatives hadn't decided on Becík's replacement as agriculture minister. "Mr. Chovan is one of the hot candidates," said Mečiar, in a reference to Vladimír Chovan, chairman of the Slovak Agriculture and Food Chamber, who has been tipped by several members of the party's leadership committee as the likely replacement. He noted that the point of Becík's replacement is to make the situation at the ministry more stable, and the decision is not due to Becík's shortcomings.
According to Meciar, even though Becik is a true expert in the agriculture sector, what matters now is to deal with the differing stances of people involved in the food and agricultural sectors, as well as with the problems plaguing the state-run forestry company Lesy SR. The replacement of Becík and several more people at the ministry could help resolve these thorny issues, he added. According to Mečiar, who is a former prime minister, the party will not select its nominee for the ministerial post until Becik returns his mandate to the party, however. Subsequently, an agreement on a new minister should be made, with Prime Minister Fico expected to accept it, Mečiar added.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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26. Aug 2009 at 10:00