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Fico likely to face no-confidence vote over SPP scandal

Prime Minister Robert Fico is very likely to face a parliamentary no-confidence vote for the first time during this term in office, as opposition MPs are planning to submit a proposal on September 13 concerning the calling of a parliamentary session with such a vote as the only item on the agenda.

Prime Minister Robert Fico is very likely to face a parliamentary no-confidence vote for the first time during this term in office, as opposition MPs are planning to submit a proposal on September 13 concerning the calling of a parliamentary session with such a vote as the only item on the agenda.

Legislators representing Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Most-Híd, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and New Majority-Agreement (NOVA) have all pledged their support for the proposal. The initiative comes in the wake of a scandal surrounding the government's plans for the purchase of the remaining 49 percent of shares in the mother company of gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP). Revelations that documents for the government material on the acquisition seem to contain meta data from J&T financial group have led to the allegation that the firm had a hand in drafting the purchase agreement.

After the opposition MPs submit their proposal for calling the session, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška will be required to summon the session within seven days, the TASR newswire wrote.

Independent MP Daniel Lipšic has challenged Prime Minister Robert Fico to a televised debate over Lipšic’s claim that the documents for the government materials on the acquisition of a 49-percent stake in SPP were drafted by the J&T financial group and not the Economy Ministry. On September 11, Lipšic announced that an electronic document on SPP, approved by the government on September 4, features the name of a company called J&T Investment Advisors in its ‘file properties’ [supporting information that is automatically attached to e-files].

“Based on this document, it seems that key materials of an economic character were created on the computers of J&T Investment Advisors,” said Marcel Klimek of the Lipšic-led extra-parliamentary New Majority-Agreement (NOVA).

Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský said in reply that a lot of information and documents were exchanged for the sake of preparing materials between the ministry, SPP and its stakeholder, Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH), as well as SPP board of directors advisor Miroslav Haško, who formerly worked for J&T Investment Advisors.

“This gentleman still uses a computer from this group. So, the documents that he sent us came from his computer. That's all there is to it,” said Malatinský. The claim about the alleged drafting of government materials has also been rejected by the financial group itself.

EPH is a relatively new minority SPP shareholder that is set to give up its 49-percent stake in the SPP mother company to Slovak state in a debt-equity swap.

Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) chairman Richard Sulík has managed to collect more (45) than the 30 signatures from opposition MPs needed to convene an extraordinary parliamentary session on the purchase of the remaining shares in the mother company of SPP. Whether Sulík will submit the proposal to convene the session or the opposition will embrace a differrent course of action remains to be seen, TASR wrote.

Fico’s Smer party controls an outright majority in parliament and the government is likely to survive and no-confidence vote.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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