THE FALL of the Radičová government means that virtually all the reforms that it had proposed but which had not been adopted by parliament are likely to stall. While the ruling coalition will not realise all its plans, it did pass several key legislative measures during its short term.
The requirement to publish all contracts involving expenditure of public funds on the internet is a flagship measure secured by the Radičová administration. This measure, according to a survey of political commentators by the Sme daily at the end of 2010, has helped to increase the transparency of the state administration. Moreover, it helped to reveal several dubious contracts, including those in the so-called Hayek case that later resulted in the resignation of two deputy ministers.
Under the law, all institutions which fall under the Freedom of Information Act – ministries, state offices and their budgetary organisations, public organisations, town councils, village councils and regional governments – must publish their contracts online.
Changes in the judicial system were also priorities for the Radičová government. One of the first changes was to establish a new system for the selection of judges by commissions composed of representatives of courts, the Justice Ministry and parliament.
Similar changes were recently passed for prosecutors as well but have been suspended by a Constitutional Court ruling.
Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská regularly defended the measures, presenting them as an attempt to open the previously opaque court system to public scrutiny, but the opposition, together with the president of the Supreme Court, Štefan Harabin, criticised the changes and accused her of trying to politicise the judiciary.
The Radičová government was praised for improving relations with Slovakia’s southern neighbour, Hungary. The government was largely successful in reversing the deterioration in ties that had occurred under the previous government of Robert Fico. Fico, together with his ruling coalition partner the nationalist Slovak National Party (SNS), had been involved in several international disputes which culminated in amendment of the State Citizenship Act, stripping any Slovaks who seek citizenship of another country of their Slovak citizenship. It was passed after Hungary started allowing ethnic Hungarians in neighbouring countries, including Slovakia, to more easily obtain Hungarian citizenship.
Among the other measures passed by the government were the establishment of a new public broadcaster, Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS), which absorbed Slovak Radio and Slovak Television, and changes to the Labour Code, which were welcomed by employers but denounced by trade unions. The cabinet also re-established the Environment Ministry, which had been abolished by the previous government.
The fall of the government has halted several further reforms proposed by the government, such as an large-scale changes in the tax and payroll-levy system and partial reversal of the amendment to the State Citizenship Act.
17. Oct 2011 at 0:00 | By Radka Minarechová with press reports