The six parties that won parliamentary seats in the March 10 election held a round-table discussion today, Thursday March 15, hosted by the winning party, Smer. Originally, Smer, despite winning a comprehensive majority in parliament, had said it would seek a governing coalition partner, but it now seems certain that it will rule alone.
The party leaders used the discussion to negotiate the distribution of parliamentary posts. Smer said it would offer two deputy-speaker posts to the opposition, but three parties have expressed an interest: the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) and Most-Híd.
Most-Híd leader Béla Bugár said he did not think that OĽaNO’s third place in the election (after Smer and the KDH) entitled it to take the post. He said that it would be realistic for OĽaNO leader Igor Matovič to get the post only if he was able to use his brain for at least one year by not offending other MPs. "But that is unrealistic," Bugár said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
Matovič himself played down hopes that he might be successful in the fight for the post. "I think that Mr Bugár and [Smer chairman] Robert Fico have already made some backroom deals," he said. The KDH is likely to get the second deputy-speaker post.
The question of who will chair the various parliamentary committees was also discussed today. Fico announced that the opposition parties would get the chance to put their nominees at the helm of some committees, including those supervising the activities of the SIS intelligence service and the National Security Office, SITA wrote.
Also today, Smer should be formally authorised by President Ivan Gašparovič to form a new government, the TASR newswire wrote. “Smer will constitute the government as a single party. I repeatedly thank all citizens for their participation in the election. We have big respect towards these results,” Fico told a press conference, adding that the round table was very interesting, correct and constructive.
At the round-table debate, the KDH said it would try to reach an agreement with Smer to abolish the so-called Mečiar amnesties, KDH spokesman Matej Kováč told TASR on Wednesday. Last month, parliament rejected a proposal to abolish the amnesties, decreed in 1998 by then-acting president Vladimír Mečiar concerning the kidnapping of the previous president's son, Michal Kováč Jr, to Austria in 1995. The SIS intelligence agency, which was headed by Mečiar's associate Ivan Lexa in 1995, was suspected of having carried out the kidnapping, but all investigations were halted by the amnesties. Smer abstained in the vote, thus ensuring its rejection, even though Fico described the amnesties as immoral.
Following today’s round table, Fico said that his party was ready to support a parliamentary motion that would condemn the amnesties but not reverse them.
Sources: SITA, TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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