SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Trnka

LOOKING for Slovakia’s best-known tongue twister? The likely winner would be: “A tie vrabce z toho tŕnia, štrng-brnk do druhého tŕnia” (And the sparrows from those thorny shrubs, with no hush rushed for new shrubs.)

LOOKING for Slovakia’s best-known tongue twister? The likely winner would be: “A tie vrabce z toho tŕnia, štrng-brnk do druhého tŕnia” (And the sparrows from those thorny shrubs, with no hush rushed for new shrubs.)

Looking for Slovakia’s best-known mind twister? Trnka. No, not blackthorn, the wild shrub with small plums common in Slovakia’s countryside. Instead, Dobroslav Trnka, the man who has for the last seven years been the country’s ‘general prosecutor’. It’s not only that it has never quite been possible to get one’s head around why he keeps prolonging the “investigation” into the alleged attack on Hungarian student Hedviga Malinová, why he first hailed the appointment of Štefan Harabin as justice minister only to later confirm Harabin’s ties to the mafia, or what he plans to do about suspicions of shady financing of the largest coalition party and the largest opposition party. It’s also his bons mots – when environmentalists asked his office to guard the protected Tatra forests against illegal intrusion by state foresters, he said that “the greens should take their flappers and go bang the parasites themselves”. He didn’t forget to mention that on his morning jogs by the Danube he has to collect plastic bottles left by environmentalists. “And I guarantee you, that they are not Coca-Cola bottles. Well, they are Coca-Cola bottles, but the smell is a little different.”

And now come two new mysteries. The first is – why has SDKÚ leader Mikuláš Dzurinda decided to back Trnka for re-selection. Was it to sweep his party’s financing scandal under the carpet? To undermine the position of Prime Minister Iveta Radičová and show her who has real power? Or does he just sympathise with Trnka’s view on environmental protection?

And the other big question is – what’s going to happen if Trnka is selected? Will the coalition, most of whose members are allergic to the sight of the current general prosecutor, fall apart?

But one thing is certain – if Trnka is rushed into office for another seven years, SaS, KDH, Most-Híd, and many in Dzurinda’s own party will not hush. And relationships in the coalition will become thorny indeed.


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