Smer MPs backed Čislák in no-confidence vote

THE OPPOSITION tried to oust Health Minister Viliam Čislák on October 30; but failed, as only 38 MPs out of 112 lawmakers present in parliament voted for his dismissal. MPs from the ruling Smer party backed him.

Recalling of minister Čislák (c), with Labour Minister Ján Richter (L) and Justice Minister Tomáš Borec (R). Recalling of minister Čislák (c), with Labour Minister Ján Richter (L) and Justice Minister Tomáš Borec (R). (Source: TASR)

The no-confidence motion, already the second such attempt after an April motion, was signed by 40 opposition MPs from Christian-Democratic Movement (KDH), Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), Most-Híd and also some independents, the Sme daily wrote. They criticised Čislák for not trying to improve the transparency of cash flow in the health sector and crack down on embezzlement, even after the recent scandals in state-run health insurer Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovnňa (VšZP).

“Minister Čislák doesn’t want to address problems in health care and doesn’t want to make its processes more transparent,” said KDH vice-chairman Július Brocka, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He referred to the case of former director of state-run health insurer VšZP Marcel Forai who signed a contract with a company owned by his aunt. “We’ve been receiving information that such “Aunt Ankas” – models of nepotism and cronyism – can be found all across Slovakia,” said Brocka who maintains that Čislák has not done anything to prevent such cases from recurring.

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As a proof, Brocka cited the fact that even though the Health Minister dismissed Forai from VšZP, he subsequently replaced him with Miroslav Vaďura who was employed at VšZP during the time  the contract in question was signed. Vaďura knew about the contracts, according to Brocka.

Read also:New VšZP director’s past is questioned Read more 

Čislák responded by saying that if he feels the need to resign, he’ll resign on his own volition, stressing the fact that the opposition does not have enough votes, without those of Smer MPs, to recall him. He also disagreed with the accusation that he has not done anything to fight against corruption, citing anti-corruption e-mail boxes for citizens and patients who feel that they have suffered some injustice and the open transparent hospital project; adding that he took over the ministry in poor condition.

Prime Minister Robert Fico described the proposal to dismiss Čislák as a sign of KDH’s inability to come up with an alternative idea. The premier called the proposal “as weak as KDH is politically”, according to TASR. He also said the no-confidence motion is unfounded, especially coming from KDH. Fico remarked that it was not his Smer, but KDH that was responsible for financial group Penta entering the Slovak health-care system.

This was the 12th no-confidence motion in this term of office of Smer which maintains a majority of seats in parliament.

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