Labour, Social Affairs and Family Minister Ján Richter will face a no-confidence vote in parliament, with the extraordinary session initiated by independent MP Alojz Hlina and opposition lawmakers.
Hlina managed to collect the required 30 MP signatures – together Lucia Nicholsonová (Freedon and Solidarity-SaS MP) and Richard Vašečka (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities-OĽaNO MP) – and plans to submit them on October 9. Once he does so, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška is procedurally obligated to convene the extraordinary session within seven days. Given Smer's outright majority in parliament, Hlina is likely to survive the vote.
The opposition perceives two main reasons to oust Richter. The first is the subsidy of €23,000 given in August to the Liquidator Office of Rudolf Krutý with an aim to create four jobs; another one is the case of Star EU company, to which attention was drawn for the first time by Ivan Kuhn of OKS and that received substantial coverage by media. According to the Sme daily, the company, offering external management for villages vis-a-vis administrative tasks regarding the drawing of Eurofunds, won 70 tenders out of 70, once it was recommended to Smer mayors by then-Smer general secretary Richter in March 2008.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development which bears responsibility over the Regional Operational Programme has already announced it will look into all EU-funded projects that involve external management. Agriculture Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek told the TASR newswire he gave an order at once to check all projects with the involvement of external management, adding that a total of some 1,500 projects will be reviewed.
The Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-SDKÚ caucus chair Ľudovít Kaník wants to dismiss Prime Minister Robert Fico for what he sees as Fico’s dangerous pro-Russian stances regarding the crisis in Ukraine, TASR learned on September 25. According to Kaník, Fico damages Slovakia’s interests when he leans towards the Russian side in the conflict. Moreover, SDKÚ also heaps criticism at Fico over his failure to discuss the Ukrainian crisis in parliament.
Whether Kaník will manage to collect the necessary 30 signatures from opposition colleagues remains to be seen. SDKÚ caucus has currently only eight members. “I trust that Mr. Kaník is aware that such a serious matter needs to be discussed first at the level of party chairs,” said Christian Democratic Movement’s (KDH) vice-chair Pavol Abrhan. His view is shared also by Laszlo Solymos of Most-Híd. Liberal Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party vice-chair Jozef Mihál has already signed Kaník’s initiative. He conceded, however, that a number of opposition representatives consider this to be only Kaník’s personal activity and the lining up for a better position before the extraordinary SDKÚ congress, slated for September 27.
(Source: 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.
25. Sep 2014 at 14:00