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Third no-confidence vote in Štefanov to go ahead

Construction and Regional Development Minister Igor Štefanov (Slovak National party, SNS) is to face a third attempt by opposition parties to force him from office.

Construction and Regional Development Minister Igor Štefanov (Slovak National party, SNS) is to face a third attempt by opposition parties to force him from office.

The opposition initiated an extraordinary parliamentary session with a no-confidence vote in the minister as the only point on its agenda earlier this week. Their representatives delivered the signatures of 48 MPs demanding a session to decide on Štefanov's fate to parliament on Thursday, October 22. The opposition says he is responsible for the controversial, non-transparent so-called ‘bulletin board’ tender that cost his predecessor his job. The tender, for an EU-funded contract worth €120 million, was found to have been advertised only on the ministry's internal bulletin board. Many of the key documents in the tender were signed by Štefanov, then a key deputy of the minister.

Christian-Democratic Movement (KDH) vice-chairman Július Brocka told the SITA newswire that MPs initiated the proposal after the European Commission decided not to reimburse a single euro for the tender. The opposition had earlier urged Prime Minister Robert Fico to recall Štefanov. Brocka said that Fico not only did not do so but has made matters worse by assigning what he called the “senseless task” to the Supreme Audit Office of auditing what has already been audited. The office completed an audit of the tender earlier in the year.

Brocka said that instead of firing another corrupt minister, the prime minister is wasting the money of Slovak citizens. Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška must convene the extraordinary parliamentary session within seven days. It will be the tenth parliamentary session during which the opposition has attempted to sack one of Fico’s ministers.

Štefanov survived a first no-confidence motion in April, just a few days after his appointment to the ministerial post. The second motion he survived was held in May. Fico said that the present motion is a useless theatre performance. If the Supreme Audit Office controllers come to the conclusion that the ministry ineffectively handled money then this issue will become a point of discussion, he said.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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