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SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Len a len

“I EMPHASISE that while I’m finance minister, it will be only and only (len a len) the minister who makes personnel decisions within this department,” said Ivan Mikloš on Monday, in reaction to Prime Minister Iveta Radičová’s demand that Tax Directorate head Miroslav Mikulčík leave his post.

Tax Directorate head Miroslav Mikulčík resigned on April 20. (Source: TASR)

“I EMPHASISE that while I’m finance minister, it will be only and only (len a len) the minister who makes personnel decisions within this department,” said Ivan Mikloš on Monday, in reaction to Prime Minister Iveta Radičová’s demand that Tax Directorate head Miroslav Mikulčík leave his post.

Unfortunately, Mikloš is not the country’s only politician with a big ego. And that is one of the key reasons why the government nearly collapsed this week.

Mikloš, who said in his statement that despite Radičová’s demand he sees “no relevant reason for Mikulčík’s resignation”, clearly wanted to show not only that he will take no orders from Radičová, but also that his judgment is better than the prime minister’s. Not a usual attitude for a cabinet member.

On the other hand it was unfortunate for Radičová to demand Mikulčík’s resignation while Mikloš was en route to the US and the two of them had an agreement not to comment on the issue until he was due to return two days later. She explained her sudden change of heart by referring to “growing pressure”, but it is hard to imagine what sort of pressure she had in mind when all the relevant facts of the case were known well before Mikloš’s departure. And one weekend of bad media coverage really isn’t that intolerable. Unless you really can’t stand negative publicity.

It is hard to guess what was going through Mikulčík’s mind throughout the last couple of days. But staying in office even though the head of government asks you to go requires quite a bit of self-esteem.

SDKÚ boss and former prime minister Mikuláš Dzurinda must be enjoying a new-found sense of importance, since he played a key role in negotiating a final agreement.

Yes, transparency, policy, and conflicting political interests played a role in the scandal and its outcome.

But in no way was it len a len a matter of the two of them.


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