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SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Notebook

SLOVAK politicians have had their share of IT trouble before. President Ivan Gašparovič claims he uses Google to talk via the internet. Former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar could not decipher a “cassette” containing the names of politicians involved in dubious financial transactions (it later turned out to be a CD and no interesting revelations ever came out of it). But failing to propose a draft bill because your notebook broke – that’s new. Let’s hope MP Gábor Gál, who was supposed to prepare new legislation on party financing on behalf of the opposition, finds a functioning computer soon.

SLOVAK politicians have had their share of IT trouble before. President Ivan Gašparovič claims he uses Google to talk via the internet. Former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar could not decipher a “cassette” containing the names of politicians involved in dubious financial transactions (it later turned out to be a CD and no interesting revelations ever came out of it). But failing to propose a draft bill because your notebook broke – that’s new. Let’s hope MP Gábor Gál, who was supposed to prepare new legislation on party financing on behalf of the opposition, finds a functioning computer soon.

Interior minister Robert Kaliňák claims he also has a draft ready, but the political class has already broken its pledge to reform financing within a year of the first post-election parliamentary session, so the more people who try, the better. Time still does matter – regional elections are planned for the fall, and presidential elections are due next spring. Hopes for new rules to be in place in time for either look slim. But let’s not give up just yet.

The parties’ agreement to make their accounting more transparent, to provide detailed reports on national and regional campaigns and to improve the way politicians declare their property, came in the wake of the Gorilla protests. And it has ended in nothing, much like other measures intended to prevent further cases of organised top-level corruption – the criminal investigation of the 2005/2006 wiretaps has led to nothing. No truth commission has been set-up to investigate the affair. And Robert Fico still refuses to say whether he visited the Bratislava apartment which was allegedly monitored by the secret service, yet he still remains the country’s most trusted politician.

The most discussed events of this week were Fico’s appearance on a charity TV show and the fact that the cycling prodigy Peter Sagan pinched the bottom of a Belgian flower girl. Interesting stuff. But it shows politicians that the last thing they need to worry about is fixing the country. Or even their notebooks.

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