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Coalition fails to reach agreement on EFSF but talks to continue on Tuesday

Leaders of Slovakia’s four governing parties who gathered for a Coalition Council meeting on October 10 failed to reach an agreement on a joint coalition position before the vote in parliament on changes in the eurozone's EFSF bailout mechanism, the TASR newswire was told by Peter Zajac, the chairman of the OKS faction of Most-Híd party. Talks are scheduled to begin again at the Government Office on Tuesday morning ahead of parliament's session scheduled for 13:00, Zajac said. The same outcome was also announced by Prime Minister Iveta Radičová from the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) party shortly afterwards at a joint press conference where the premier appeared with Richard Sulík, the chair of the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party which has said it will not vote for the changes. Sulík also serves as speaker of the Slovak parliament.

Leaders of Slovakia’s four governing parties who gathered for a Coalition Council meeting on October 10 failed to reach an agreement on a joint coalition position before the vote in parliament on changes in the eurozone's EFSF bailout mechanism, the TASR newswire was told by Peter Zajac, the chairman of the OKS faction of Most-Híd party. Talks are scheduled to begin again at the Government Office on Tuesday morning ahead of parliament's session scheduled for 13:00, Zajac said.

The same outcome was also announced by Prime Minister Iveta Radičová from the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) party shortly afterwards at a joint press conference where the premier appeared with Richard Sulík, the chair of the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party which has said it will not vote for the changes. Sulík also serves as speaker of the Slovak parliament.

"We held open talks but I must say that no agreement was reached between the partners. The heads of the parties will meet at the Government Office on Tuesday at 9:00 to discuss further measures," the prime minister stated.

She added that a responsible decision on how to proceed is now needed and that she would make her decision Tuesday morning. Options include, among others, tying the parliamentary vote on the EFSF to a vote of confidence in the government as well as Radičová's resignation if EFSF is rejected in parliament.

Radičová stressed that Europe is facing difficult times while "a serious, dramatic and ever deeper crisis calls for very swift solutions”.

It was announced earlier in the day that Radičová had offered to resign. The Sme daily reported that her colleagues in the SDKÚ suggested that she combine parliament's vote on EFSF with a vote of confidence in the government instead.

The coalition has found itself in a stand-off as SaS has remained adamant in its opposition to approval of the changes in the EFSF and unless the coalition’s three parties that support the change receive help from the opposition parties, the proposal will not have a majority in parliament.

Source: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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