After just six months in power the ruling coalition is already undergoing changes. After the collapse of the Sieť party state posts are now divided among three parties.
“The new distribution of political power in ruling coalition will result in a new, more effective structure,” Prime Minister Robert Fico told the August 19 press conference, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
The current situation follows the break-up of the smallest coalition party Sieť, which was left with only two MPs in the parliament: its former chair Radoslav Procházka and Alena Bašistová. The first changes can already be seen at the transport department which will soon get a new minister.
The coalition however claims it still has the support of 81 MPs, which is also confirmed by the political analysts.
“The ruling coalition won’t fall apart, it is still firm enough, because none of the renegades wants to exit it,” political analyst Grirogij Mesežnikov said in an earlier interview with The Slovak Spectator.
Redistribution of power
Though the date for signing the new coalition deal has not been set yet, some changes are already clear. Transport Minister Roman Brecely said after the August 19 meeting of the coalition that he will resign from the post.
The Most-Híd party meanwhile announced it will nominate current State Secretary of the Transport Ministry Árpád Érsek to fill the post.
The party can claim the post after its importance in the coalition increased. Thanks to taking five defectors from Sieť (Andrej Hrnčiar, Martin Fedor, Eduard Adamčík, Katarína Cséfalvayová and Igor Janckulík), it now has 15 deputies, similarly to the Slovak National Party (SNS).
In addition to picking the new transport minister, the coalition will also have to agree on four new state secretaries: three to substitute Igor Adamec at the Culture Ministry, Ivan Máčovský at the Defence Ministry, and Jozef Kamenický at the Agriculture Ministry; and one to substitute Érsek.
Most-Híd already picked security analyst Róbert Ondrejcsák for the Defence Ministry and current head of the parliamentary agriculture committee Gabriel Csicsai for the Agriculture Ministry, the Sme daily reported.
It has not revealed the last nominee yet. As for the last empty post, Bugár has already said it should be filled by the SNS nominee as it was left short of it during the coalition talks.
The parties will also redistribute the posts in state firms filled by Sieť nominees.
Talks on Sieť's future
Shortly after the August 19 coalition meeting the discussion over the future of Sieť started. Fico told the press conference that Sieť wants to “meaningfully use its potential” by joining some other party. It is however not clear which one. SNS has already claimed it will not take the remaining two Sieť MPs.
“SNS will not increase the number of its caucus members,” Chairman Andrej Danko said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that the party has its own problems and vision.
Also other coalition parties are careful in comments on potentially merging with Sieť. For Most-Híd, for example, it is not the hottest topic.
“For me it is important that Mr Brecely said the remaining Sieť MPs will support the ruling coalition and will fulfil the government’s manifesto,” its chair Béla Bugár said, as quoted by TASR.
Former Most-Híd MP Zsolt Simon, who left the party after it joined the ruling coalition, however warned of losing some Hungarian voters if they join with Sieť, Sme wrote.
Smer has not even received any official request from Sieť MPs to join the caucus, said its spokeswoman Ľubica Končalová.
“Sieť is a dead party, it has nearly no voters or deputies, only debts,” Mesežnikov said, as quoted by Sme. “I am not surprised the coalition parties are not interested.”
Not even Sieť officials have explained what they mean about integrating with another party. Several party members told the Denník N daily they want to wait for the meeting of the leadership that should take place in early September.
Moreover, the party may face troubles due to its high debts. If it was dissolved, it would not receive the money from state budget for which it is entitled thanks to its election result. The party may claim for €3.5 million, of which €3 million should be used to repay the loan from Fio Banka which it took to pay for its pre-election campaign, Denník N reported.
Sieť has already received €1.2 million immediately after the elections, while the rest should be sent to its account gradually during the whole four-year tenure. The party also receives the money for MPs who have already left as it is set by the law.
If the party is scrapped, it will automatically lose the right to claim for the remaining sum. This would pose a problem to Sieť which ended last year with a €2.5-million loss, Denník N wrote.
Party auditor Jana Ascová has already expressed doubts whether the party would be able to continue in its activities.
Sieť however claims it will have no problem to repay its debts, even towards private persons, spokeswoman Carmen Némethová told public-service broadcaster RTVS.
With press reports
25. Aug 2016 at 15:58 | Radka Minarechová