NEWS IN SHORT

Opposition seeks to oust Štefanov

TWO OPPOSITION parties, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), agreed that they will initiate a no-confidence vote against Construction Minister Igor Štefanov. They claim that Štefanov is responsible for the non-transparent bulletin-board tender that involved use of EU funds, the SITA newswire reported.

TWO OPPOSITION parties, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), agreed that they will initiate a no-confidence vote against Construction Minister Igor Štefanov. They claim that Štefanov is responsible for the non-transparent bulletin-board tender that involved use of EU funds, the SITA newswire reported.

The two parties agreed to undertake the no-confidence vote because Prime Minister Robert Fico has not complied with their request to recall the minister, who will now face his third no-confidence motion in his six-month career as minister. The first motion was in April, just a few days after his appointment. The opposition objected that a person who they said was personally involved in the bulletin-board tender while serving in a deputy position at the ministry was chosen to replace the sacked minister, Marian Janušek. The second no-confidence motion was in May and Štefanov survived that attempt as well.

KDH leader Ján Figeľ said that although he knows the opposition does not have enough votes to dismiss the minister, he finds the initiative important to show that most citizens do not accept corruption as a part of public life.

Fico and his cabinet have made a second request for the Supreme Audit Office to examine the tender – this time concerning whether government funds were spent reasonably on the services covered under the tender. A previous audit uncovered several legal violations in the procedures for the tender.

The opposition was planning to file the request for the no-confidence motion on October 22. However, SDKÚ leader Mikuláš Dzurinda said on October 21 that there is a possibility that Fico will recall Štefanov even without the vote and that the Prime Minister is only waiting for the parliament to approve the 2010 state budget, for which Fico needs the support of the Slovak National Party (SNS). According to the governing coalition agreement, the SNS controls the Construction Ministry and it nominated both Štefanov and his predecessor.


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