The Slovak Governance Institute (SGI) is calling on the chair of the Slovak Statistics Office, Ľudmila Benkovičová, to resign based on what the institute calls the office's incompetence and political bias under her leadership, it was announced on October 1 and reported by the TASR newswire.
“We consider this step [her resignation] to be a pre-condition for the restoring of trust in the Statistics Office, and we are asking the government to dismiss Benkovicova if she will not resign willingly,” said Miroslav Beblavý from SGI to TASR. He said that SGI has been watching for several months with concern the situation at the Statistics Office, which he said has been characterised by increased politicising as well as by grave mistakes in calculating key social and economic data since Benkovičová took office.
SGI suggests replacing her with a professional, chosen in a 'real' tender. The NGO also wants to see the establishment of a control organ that would monitor the Statistical Office's work.
Beblavý lists the cancellation of public opinion polling after it began to show decreased support for coalition leading party Smer as well as lying about the reasons for the decision as among the problems with her performance.
“Another mistake was the rounding off of numbers concerning poverty during PM Robert Fico's government in order to conceal that poverty had started to rise even before the global economic crisis,” he explained.
Beblavý added that SGI thinks the solution lies not only in replacing the head but also in a legislative amendment enabling the Statisitics Office to be monitored by a group of independent experts.
The Slovak Statistics Office simply cannot change how it works or the results of its work at a whim, the office's vice chairman, Štefan Condik, said in response to the claims. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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2. Oct 2009 at 10:00