The former partners in Slovakia's ruling coalition, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Most-Híd, are meeting on Wednesday, November 16, to seek agreement on the draft 2012 state budget.
SaS announced on Tuesday, as quoted by the SITA newswire, that it was prepared to support proposals which would lead to the achievement of the originally planned general government budget deficit of 3.8 percent of GDP in 2012. In order to achieve better financial results for the government, SaS said it would give up cancellation of voluntarily unemployed people’s duty to pay health-insurance contributions, which the party had demanded after the collapse of Iveta Radičová's cabinet in exchange for its support of the draft budget. The cancellation of the payment would mean that the forecast budget gap would be reduced by €70 million. According to SaS leader Richard Sulík, the party is willing to support the draft to reduce or cancel the state bonus provided on construction saving contracts, for which it could guarantee eighteen votes in the parliament. Finance Minister and SDKÚ caucus leader Ivan Mikloš welcomed the SaS position, which he said was a change of heart.
Opposition Smer party leader Robert Fico on Tuesday, November 15, called on the government of Iveta Radičová to start negotiations with his party over the 2012 state budget. "In its current submitted form, the motion is unacceptable," Fico said, as reported by the TASR newswire, adding that the budget needs to be redrafted. He added that potential support from Smer would not come for free, with the coalition having to pay a political price. "The political price is that they would have to incorporate our views on the income side of the budget during the consolidation of the public finances," Fico said. He added that Smer had already offered a number of alternatives for raising more money.
Sources: SITA, TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
16. Nov 2011 at 14:00