The ruling Smer party has offered the post of government proxy for Roma communities to the opposition party Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), OĽaNO chairman Igor Matovič told the TASR newswire on Wednesday, August 8.
If the party accepts the offer, the post will most likely be assigned to OĽaNO MP Peter Pollák, the first Roma ever to sit in the Slovak parliament.
Neither of the two sides considers the matter to have been decided. Head of the government office press department Erik Tomáš did not disclose any details. OĽaNO, on the other hand, openly stated that Smer has made an official offer. Nevertheless, the party claims that it first needs to ensure that Smer is truly willing to deal with the Roma issue.
According to Matovič, OĽaNO is preparing a comprehensive legislative proposal concerning Roma issues, the details of which will be presented later. Pollák revealed that there are plans to draft around 40 or 50 regulations expected to improve the situation in Roma communities. He believes that these could be adopted within the current government's term of office.
One of the regulations - which is being prepared with the active participation of Smer MPs - proposes compensation for owners of land occupied by illegal Roma settlements. In such cases, the state would buy the land from its owners, who are effectively unable to use their property, subsequently offering it to the Roma settlers for purchase. If Pollák accepts the post, he'll become the second opposition figure serving PM Robert Fico's government. Most-Híd MP László Nagy was appointed as proxy for minorities in June.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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