Fico says government may step down in June 2015

The incumbent government might conclude its tenure before its mandate is up, Prime Minister Robert Fico indicated at a debate sponsored by the daily Hospodárske Noviny (HNClub discussion forum) on December 2.

The incumbent government might conclude its tenure before its mandate is up, Prime Minister Robert Fico indicated at a debate sponsored by the daily Hospodárske Noviny (HNClub discussion forum) on December 2.

Fico was referring to the current situation in politics and society, which, according to him, includes the opposition inciting the public to take to the streets, a phenomenon that he called the “Balkanisation” of Slovak politics. As a date for a possible premature end to the current cabinet, he indicated June 2015 on several occasions.

Such reflections stem from reasonable grounds, said Fico: “Our patience has some boundaries. I see no point in listening to people, half-lunatics, yelling under my windows “come out here, we’ll shoot you like Ceaucescu”.

“This is what they often say to us. I see no point in listening to people in parliament who tell us that we've accomplished nothing and that we’re riff-raff,” he said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “There you are, I can imagine us handing in our resignation to the president in June, and then the president and everybody else purporting to be an alternative can go and govern this country for eight months. Now, that would be great.”

Fico went on to dismiss a scenario wherein a coalition of six or seven opposition parties would serve as an alternative to the incumbent government while drawing a contrast to what, according to him, the parties actually have to offer. While he acknowledged the advances that have been made in Slovakia and surrounding countries towards boosting the presence of independent politicians, he was certain that only strong political parties and a parliamentary system can ensure progress for the country.

In response to the recent series of rallies against the government, Fico acknowledged people’s right to express their dissatisfaction. However, such gatherings do not warrant his government’s exit, he said, noting that as many as 8,000 people attend gatherings that his Smer party holds to mark International Women’s Day.

“I hope you don’t want me to act like [Hungarian Prime Minister] Viktor Orbán in that when there’s a rally we’ll organise a counter-rally to which we’ll bring 20,000 people,” Fico said. “That isn't a way out. There’s always some dissatisfaction.”

Political analysts do not view the possibility of such resignation as overly realistic. According to analyst Michal Horský, such a measure could only be triggered by a serious crisis within Smer.

“It would be odd, but it could happen,” another political analyst, Rastislav Tóth, told TASR. “Calling a new election would mean that Fico had given up. Even if 10,000 people attended anti-government protests, this would be a negligible proportion of the five million Slovaks.”

Political analyst Grigorij Mesežnikov of the IVO think tank told the Sme daily that it was a mere play-acting and also an attempt, to a certain point, to complain to voters that the opposition attacks them unjustly. Political analyst Miroslav Kusý opined for Sme that it was a demagogic effort to say: “We’ve recalled Paška, and that’s it - don’t ask more form us”.

The reason of such considerations is the intended leaving of politics by Fico, chair of the Christian-democratic Movement (KDH) caucus Pavol Abrhan told the SITA newswire; as well as the effort to keep high preferences of Smer. Fico’s words only confirmed he was considering leaving politics, he said.

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