New government meets for first time, appoints state secretaries

THE new government has met for the first time since the general election; it appointed a new group of state secretaries.

The new government had a photo-session before its first meeting. The new government had a photo-session before its first meeting. (Source: TASR)

Its talks on March 30 were led by re-elected Prime Minister Robert Fico of Smer, whose party – together with nominees of the Slovak National Party (SNS), Most-Híd and Sieť (Network) constitute the ministers of the new cabinet. Fico (Smer-SD) is to file the draft programme statement of his cabinet by April 13 for the next cabinet session, ministers decided on their first meeting.

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Three new ministers were officially sworn into office before the government session: Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (Most-Híd), Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matečná (SNS nominee) and Environment Minister László Solymos (Most-Híd).

Health-sector-related issues were on the agenda of the session, with Health Minister Tomáš Drucker (a Smer nominee) cancelling a contract worth almost €18 million. This contract, signed with the Plaut Slovensko last week by the National Centre of Health-care Information (NCZI), was meant to deliver an information system for administering and issuing chip cards to all health-care clients,. NCZI signed the contract despite the chance that chip cards might ultimately not be purchased, the daily Sme wrote. Drucker also stated, as quoted by the TASR newswire, that state-owned health insurer Všeobecná zdravotná poisťovňa (VšZP) should be led by someone from outside the health-care sector. The VšZP issue should be solved soon.

State secretaries appointed

The government also appointed another group of state secretaries to five ministries on that day. Mária Kolíková has once again become state secretary at the Justice Ministry, a post she held under the government of Iveta Radičová (2010-12), in which Žitňanská also served as Justice Minister. 

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Bratislava-Ružinov borough councillor Igor Adamec was appointed to the Culture Ministry. As a well-known actor, he ran on the Sieť slate but was not one of its seven MPs.

Norbert Kurilla, who had prepared the Environment Ministry in the long term for tasks stemming from the upcoming Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU, will become the second in charge at the Environment Ministry.

Jozef Kamenický (Sieť) was approved by the cabinet for the post of Agricultural Ministry state secretary, and his counterpart at the Defence Ministry will be Ivan Máčovský (also Sieť).

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