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Vote on Figeľ’s ouster did not take place, allegedly unnecesary

IN THE complex case of the Váhostav construction company, one of the political victims should have been Ján Figeľ, former transport minister and current deputy speaker of parliament.

Ján Figeľ (Source: TASR)

However, the ruling Smer party would not oust him in the end, even though it is convinced of his full political responsibility for the financial problems of Váhostav over his policy of cheap motorways, Prime Minister Robert Fico said on April 24 – a week after he had announced the no-confidence vote on Figeľ in parliament.

“The parliamentary session [on Figeľ’s ouster] has fulfilled its purpose, which was to demonstrate his political responsibility,” Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “The session was legitimate. We want to respect the agreements from 2012, when the parliament’s leadership was created. We aren’t interested in changing these agreements.”

“We wanted to point to Figeľ’s clear political responsibility,” the premier added. “We’ve demonstrated it and nobody has refuted that in 2010-12 contracts on motorway construction were signed, even though it was evident that the constructor wouldn’t be able to build them for the price. Construction companies’ representatives knew it, as did Figeľ,” said Fico, adding that Figeľ should resign on his own initiative.

Váhostav filed for restructuring, claiming liquidity problems stemming, among other factors, from the low prices for the construction projects of big state orders, mainly highway construction. The way the repayment of debts was stipulated caused an uproar among small creditors and media, and prompted the government to file a draft amendment to the law on restructuring, as well as to seek ways to compensate small creditors.   

Figeľ, who is also the chairman of the Christian-democratic Movement (KDH), said that this all was an absurd and arrogant attempt to dismiss someone for acting in the public interest and having managed to negotiate a reduction in state expenditures.

KDH MP Alojz Hlina in the debate announced that if Smer removes Figeľ, he himself will propose the dismissal of Smer’s deputy speaker of parliament Miroslav Číž, citing a similarly absurd reason as Smer has used to oust Figeľ. After Fico announced the attempt to oust Figeľ, opposition parties threatened to withdraw their MPs form parliamentary committees, making them dysfunctional – in a unique show of political unity.

The fact that the vote on Figeľ’s dismissal as deputy speaker of parliament will not take place in the end is the only reasonable and acceptable solution, analysts Michal Horský and Grigorij Mesežnikov concurred in reaction on April 24. The analysts disagreed in their interpretation of the move by Fico, however. Fico found out too late in the day that he would not achieve anything by removing Figeľ, and he would only radicalise the opposition and lose the trust of part of his voters instead, according to Horský. He believes that the opposition will now present this denouncement as a victory of the correct political attitudes and will attempt to use it to gain more political support.

Meanwhile, Mesežnikov interprets the move as an outright defeat for Fico. “Of course, it’s a defeat for Robert Fico ... it’s basically a confession that his arguments in support of Figel's dismissal were false in their essence,” he said as quoted by TASR. The resistance of the opposition and the media was so strong that Smer recognised that by insisting on Figeľ’s removal it would only damage itself, said Mesežnikov.

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Topic: Corruption & scandals


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