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SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Poľovačka

PRESIDENT Ivan Gašparovič is a great fan of hunting (poľovačka). And it has been rumoured for years that he was present when a fatal accident took place in 2009. There was never any hard evidence, so writing the story was impossible. All that changed thanks to Gašparovič’s office, which almost seems out to get him.

PRESIDENT Ivan Gašparovič is a great fan of hunting (poľovačka). And it has been rumoured for years that he was present when a fatal accident took place in 2009. There was never any hard evidence, so writing the story was impossible. All that changed thanks to Gašparovič’s office, which almost seems out to get him.

First there was the decision to file charges against a blogger who indicated the president’s involvement. Finally something could actually appear in a news report. Then came a series of attempts to explain the president’s whereabouts at the time of the shooting, all of which turned out to be false. Finally, the presidential palace released a statement saying they would offer no new comment on the issue, while the Interior Ministry, which provides the president’s security, said it would not release any information about Gašparovič’s schedule on the days in question. You would almost think there is something to the conspiracy theories.

But the president himself is increasingly hunted. There are the jokes, the public protests, the petition to strip him of office, and the opposition’s initiative to file charges against him for breaching the constitution by refusing to appoint Jozef Čentéš as general prosecutor. None of this will have any real effect – Gašparovič will without any doubt finish his term in office. But it could help to mobilise opposition voters in next year’s elections. If the right manages to find a good candidate, they could actually have a good shot at the presidency.

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