The opposition Smer party will send a letter to the headquarters of Transparency International in Berlin to officially protest what the party deems as politicising of the organisation's Slovak branch, Smer chairman Robert Fico told a press conference on Wednesday, October 27, the TASR newswire reported.
Transparency International Slovensko (TIS) is a political institution and a branch of the major governing party, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), said the former prime minister. His comments came in the wake of the release of the organisation's 2009 annual report, with the document indicating that Slovakia's corruption rating had worsened by 0.2 points to 4.2, with the country dropping five places in the global table and receiving the worst score among the Visegrad Four (V4) countries. "This list represents the final evaluation of Robert Fico's government," Gabriel Šipoš from TIS said on Tuesday.
Fico noted that TIS was headed by Emília Sičáková-Beblavá between 1998 and 2009. She is the wife of former Labour Ministry State Secretary and current SDKÚ MP Miroslav Beblavý. "Then she kind of stepped down but holds the post of (TIS's) programme director," said Fico. He noted that he cannot recollect TIS being so active during scandals in Mikuláš Dzurinda's governments between 1998 and 2006.
In addition, Fico called Beblavý and his wife "an interesting twosome". "When journalists asked Mrs Sičáková-Beblavá about the price for which they had bought their house, she replied that she can't remember. She wouldn't even let her house be photographed. It's obvious who she is," said the former premier. Beblavý, meanwhile, as a ministry State Secretary ran the European Social Fund in such a manner that Brussels halted its funding for two years, said Fico, as reported by TASR.
Sičáková-Beblavá responded on October 27 that TIS is a professional, non-partisan organisation that has been active in Slovakia for over 12 years, with TIS's professionalism attested to by each of its statements. She said that she's unaware of any of her or TIS's statements leaning towards any political party. The organisation's statements are based on facts and research, not emotions, she said. If Fico – now out of office – wants to receive advice concerning electronic auctions or how to foster transparency in the public sector, TIS is ready to help, she added.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
28. Oct 2010 at 10:00