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State must side with decent people, Kiska says in New Year's address

MOST people in Slovakia want to live in a country in which the state is on the side of decent and hard-working people, said President Andrej Kiska in his New Year’s address. The address has been welcomed by political analysts.

MOST people in Slovakia want to live in a country in which the state is on the side of decent and hard-working people, said President Andrej Kiska in his New Year’s address. The address has been welcomed by political analysts.

“Most people want a state that would be responsive to their social needs, not only in the form of slogans and campaigns, but by taking measures with respect to specific cases of people who find themselves in an insolvable situation due to life’s adversities,” Kiska said in his address, as quoted by the TASR newswire, claiming that if many other countries have developed effective and well-targeted support schemes, Slovakia should follow suit.

Kiska went on to say that Slovaks also need a well-functioning state that would be able to respond quickly to various problems and to provide flexible support for meaningful projects and good ideas that would contribute to the country’s advancement.

The president also pointed to a number of unjust social and regional disparities and to problems that ail Slovakia. However, he added that these are not unsolvable.

“We have gradually introduced complex rules to prevent the embezzlement of state finances, but – despite these complex measures – instances of illicit enrichment to the detriment of patients and/or public resources still occur,” Kiska said, as quoted by TASR, adding that people are complaining about the fact that these “complex rules” make it very difficult for many meaningful projects to be implemented. “It is not rare for proactive people to be unable to overcome obstacles in a incorrupt way, while others manage to do it using corrupt practices.”

Kiska further called on all people to create effective pressure on politicians to come up with ways to improve the management of state and public institutions in the year ahead, which will most probably be marked by the run-up to the 2016 general election.

“We will have a good opportunity to listen carefully to what has been accomplished [by politicians], to what is being stated and to how politicians view their future,” the president added.

The president’s speech also broached the situation in Ukraine. Kiska stated that there are no guidelines on how to react to this situation, but he added that nobody has the right to challenge the fundamental principles of sovereignty, self-determination and the right to make one's own decisions.

“It is in our own interest to contribute towards the unity of Europe in this principal issue by our actions,” he emphasised, as quoted by TASR.

Political analyst Ján Baránek highlighted Kiska’s appeal that the state should be on the side of decent people and all those who need its assistance.

“I consider this message to be very important, as such statements are unusual in presidential speeches,” Baránek said, as quoted by TASR.

He went on to compare Kiska’s address with those of former president Ivan Gašparovič. While both presidents referred to the hard-working nature of Slovaks and unjust social disparities in the country, Kiska – unlike his predecessor – also talked about excessive bureaucracy.

“He also urged all people, telling them that they can contribute to change,” Baránek added.

He however views it as quite controversial for Kiska to state that people have not given in to mistrust altogether.

“What I found missing was the identification of a source for this trust, why people who are disgusted with corruption [...] should have confidence,” Baránek stated, as quoted by TASR.

Political scientist Michal Horský told TASR that he views Kiska’s message as compassionate. He claimed that Kiska gave up on political evaluations, paying attention to the problems of society and the people instead.

“Kiska first pointed to humanity, the need to have a just state, well-functioning social mechanisms, and social solidarity,” Horský said. “These appeals correspond to a certain extent with the hopes held by the vast majority of people in Slovakia.”

What was rather surprising for the analyst was the fact that the president broached the issue of the Ukrainian conflict and called on Slovaks to endorse international law.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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