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Fico to face no-confidence vote on February 13

Prime Minister Robert Fico will for a second time face a no-confidence vote in parliament on February 13. Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška convened an extraordinary parliamentary session based on a motion submitted by three opposition parties: the Christian-Democratic Movement-KDH, Most-Híd and Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-SDKÚ, the SITA newswire wrote.

Prime Minister Robert Fico will for a second time face a no-confidence vote in parliament on February 13. Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška convened an extraordinary parliamentary session based on a motion submitted by three opposition parties: the Christian-Democratic Movement-KDH, Most-Híd and Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-SDKÚ, the SITA newswire wrote.

The opposition is citing the carbon-dioxide emission-quota scandal from 2008 and the ruling Smer party’s reluctance to discuss the issue in parliament at last week’s extraordinary session (February 4). In the case of a no-confidence motion, the programme of the session doesn't have to be approved beforehand. Fico’s Smer party has an outright majority in parliament and thus he is expected to easily survive the vote.

In September, the opposition lawmakers alos called for a no-confidence vote over the acquisition of the domestic gas arm of the gas utility SPP in September, with only 59 MPs voting in favour, all the 82 Smer MPs present were against and one MP abstained.

On February 13, when the second vote on his ouster is set to take place, Fico has scheduled a meeting with his Czech counterpart Bohuslav Sobotka who will arrive to Slovakia at the invitation of Fico on the same day, the TASR newswire wrote. At this session, opposition wants to find out how the shady emission-quota sale under Fico’s first government (2006-10) was carried out and whether he actually knew about its preparation from the Slovak Intelligence Service, as has been reported.

In 2008 the state sold its excess carbon dioxide emissions quotas to a small, unknown firm called Interblue Group, then operating out of a US garage, at €5.05 per ton, a price significantly lower than the market value. The state missed out an estimated €47 million in pontential revenue.

The Interblue Group divided its profits among 10 other companies with three Slovaks in background. It seems that one of the companies, Ossian Establishment allegedly owned by a man with initials Jozef B. who has been described by media as a sponsor of Smer, returned the money to Interblue and their mutual balance is zero. The Slovak National Party-SNS, which was in a coalition with Smer at the time, administrated the sale. The case cost two SNS environment ministers their seats.

The Sme daily also obtained an anonymous letter claiming that Smer which led a coalition government back in 2008 was informed by the Slovak Information Service through a special report about the case.

(Source: SITA, TASR, Sme)
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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