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Fico demands new opposition nominee for ÚVO

Prime Minister Robert Fico on Thursday, May 17, urged the opposition parties to come up with a new nominee to head the Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) by next Wednesday, the TASR newswire reported.

Prime Minister Robert Fico on Thursday, May 17, urged the opposition parties to come up with a new nominee to head the Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) by next Wednesday, the TASR newswire reported.

Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) nominee Peter Mach, who was selected for the post of ÚVO chairman by the opposition parties in parliament, was rejected by the Slovak Towns and Villages Association (ZMOS), a lobbying association. As a result, Fico said that he wanted the opposition parties to submit another candidate, but only after reaching an agreement with ZMOS. According to the Sme daily, Mach was also later rejected by another lobbying group, the Republican Union of Employers (RÚZ).

"Mach's rejection was blatantly clear, so they must resume negotiations. They can't have a party-affiliated nominee just because they have no other job for him," said the prime minister. If the opposition does not reach accord on an appropriate person, Fico says he is ready to appoint a candidate from among those who emerged from a selection process organised by the Government Office before the March general election. "There's a ranking of three people who apparently submitted the best projects. If there's no better way, I'll take on the highest-ranked and make him ÚVO chairman," Fico said, as quoted by TASR.

ZMOS has proposed its own candidate for the post of head of ÚVO: Remo Cicutto, the mayor of Piešťany. The group has continued to insist on its nominee even after the opposition parties announced that they had agreed to submit a KDH nominee for the post, the SITA newswire wrote.

KDH chairman Ján Figeľ has already asked Fico for a meeting to discuss the problem. He said that Peter Mach is the only one of the party's possible candidates who – according to Figeľ – meets all the professional and ethical requirements. Figeľ alleges that the prime minister has promised the post to employers, but argues that it actually belongs to the opposition, something Fico conceded in March.

"This double-track thinking means the entitlement and responsibility of both sides, the opposition and employers to agree on the control organ, I do not find to be a good solution," he said, as quoted by SITA. "If it is meant as a theatrical gesture or a game, the KDH will not participate in it. If the government wants to control the office itself, it is necessary to say that," Figeľ concluded.

Sources: TASR, Sme, SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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