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Smer to decide on Paška’s successor within 48 hours

The ruling Smer party will decide on the successor of Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška within 48 hours, Prime Minister Robert Fico announced after a meeting of the broader Smer presidium on November 18. Fico said that Smer also wanted to focus on what he described as the party’s “huge success” in the November 15 municipal elections. Fico said about Paška’s future position that he remains party vice-chairman for political issues. “I want him to focus on this work professionally, so he’ll be part of the Smer machinery, he’ll professionally direct certain departments, and similarly to how he managed his role in integrating the [political] left I expect that he’ll substitute for my lack of time for party structures,” Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. Paška should lead the agenda of foreign policy. Paška resigned, including his MP chair, early on November 16 following pressure from the opposition and public protests over his alleged involvement in a scandal concerning an overpriced CT scanner purchased by Piešťany Hospital from a company allegedly connected to Paška and in corruption in health-care sector in more general terms. As also Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Renáta Zmajkovičová – who was at the same time on the board of the Piešťany Hospital – had resigned on her position already earlier (in connection with the CT scanner, too), both the new speaker of parliament and his deputy will be elected at the next parliamentary session, on Tuesday, November 25. Ján Babič will replace Paška as an MP, the SITA newswire wrote. The secret vote is to be held at the very beginning of the upcoming session.

The ruling Smer party will decide on the successor of Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška within 48 hours, Prime Minister Robert Fico announced after a meeting of the broader Smer presidium on November 18. Fico said that Smer also wanted to focus on what he described as the party’s “huge success” in the November 15 municipal elections.

Fico said about Paška’s future position that he remains party vice-chairman for political issues. “I want him to focus on this work professionally, so he’ll be part of the Smer machinery, he’ll professionally direct certain departments, and similarly to how he managed his role in integrating the [political] left I expect that he’ll substitute for my lack of time for party structures,” Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. Paška should lead the agenda of foreign policy.

Paška resigned, including his MP chair, early on November 16 following pressure from the opposition and public protests over his alleged involvement in a scandal concerning an overpriced CT scanner purchased by Piešťany Hospital from a company allegedly connected to Paška and in corruption in health-care sector in more general terms.

As also Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Renáta Zmajkovičová – who was at the same time on the board of the Piešťany Hospital – had resigned on her position already earlier (in connection with the CT scanner, too), both the new speaker of parliament and his deputy will be elected at the next parliamentary session, on Tuesday, November 25. Ján Babič will replace Paška as an MP, the SITA newswire wrote. The secret vote is to be held at the very beginning of the upcoming session.

Deputy Speaker Jana Laššáková will be at the helm of parliament until then, TASR learned from Pavol Chovanec, spokesman for Paška.

To replace Paška as speaker, Smer will very likely look among its ministers, Fico said. According to inside sources, Culture Minister Marek Maďarič is the likely choice. The Sme daily also cited current Labour Minister Ján Richter as potential Paška’s replacement,

(Source: TASR, SITA, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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