A round-up of the year in politics

PARLIAMENTARY and municipal elections, massive political reshuffles, huge flooding, a national belt-tightening programme to rebalance the country’s finances, Europe-wide attention after Slovakia refused to participate in the bailout for Greece, and a tug-of-a-war over public posts are only a few of the entries that will certainly make it into the Slovak history books under the year 2010.

PARLIAMENTARY and municipal elections, massive political reshuffles, huge flooding, a national belt-tightening programme to rebalance the country’s finances, Europe-wide attention after Slovakia refused to participate in the bailout for Greece, and a tug-of-a-war over public posts are only a few of the entries that will certainly make it into the Slovak history books under the year 2010.

The centre-right parties, which took the driver’s seat in Slovakia for the next four years shortly after the June general election, declared that they envision a different route for Slovakia than that taken during the previous four under the helm of former prime minister Robert Fico and his coalition partners.

Since the parliamentary election, the new government has been engrossed in the division of power and what it has defined as the gargantuan task of cleaning up after the Fico government and mending the damage caused by the global economic downturn.

The government of Iveta Radičová has declared a crusade against corruption and cronyism, an intention to open up the country’s judiciary to more light, as well as a commitment to trimming public spending.

The new government had to deal with the aftermath of two waves of flooding that hit many regions of the country in the spring and early summer. They caused more property damage than any event in the last 20 years.

This year the country was also shaken by an act of violence the like of which it had never witnessed before: a quiet suburb of Bratislava turned into the scene of a shooting massacre on August 30 after a 48-year-old resident of Devínska Nová Ves, described by his neighbours as taciturn and solitary, shot dead seven people, including six members of a part-Roma family, before killing himself. The Slovak government declared a national day of mourning on September 2.

In another tragic event, prominent Slovak attorney Ernest Valko was found shot dead on November 8 in his family house in Limbach, near Bratislava. The death of Valko, who served as deputy speaker of the lower house of the Czechoslovak federal parliament in 1990-1991, and in 1992 was chosen as the top official of the Czechoslovak Constitutional Court, shocked Slovak society. As of the end of the year, the circumstances surrounding his death remained unclear.

The ruling coalition, since its creation in June, has experienced several shakeups, with the most recent turmoil being caused by the four parties’ inability to have their joint candidate selected, via a secret vote, for the powerful role of general prosecutor. Radičová said that she would resign as prime minister if the incumbent, Dobroslav Trnka, were to be re-selected. The fragile 79-seat majority that the ruling coalition holds in the 150-member parliament promises a turbulent term for both the ruling coalition and the opposition too.

The year in politics - related articles:
1.Elections bring change
2.Party financing cases outstanding
3.Another failed referendum
4.The judicial system under a cloud
5.Roma minority still an issue
6.Nationalist relics remain
7.Municipal elections

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