Finance Minister headed for the central bank, insiders claim

Peter Kažimír is expected to quit his job as Finance Minister and take over NBS.

Finance Minister Peter KažimírFinance Minister Peter Kažimír (Source: SITA)

Finance Minister Peter Kažimír (of the ruling Smer party) is likely to quit his position by the end of this year, several sources have confirmed for the Sme daily.

He allegedly wants to wait until the ruling coalition approves next year’s budget and then he will move to the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS, the Slovak central bank). His ambition to be at the helm of the central bank and his departure from politics due to weariness and dissatisfaction has been known for some time now.

Party affiliation/membership discussed

As the central bank is an independent institution, it is not clear whether Kažimír will have to tackle his party membership as well, the daily wrote on July 24. He could suspend his Smer membership, which is the best solution in Smer MP Marián Kéry’s eyes. In Smer, Kažimír has the closest ties with Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini and the head of the parliamentary caucus, Martin Glváč.

Due to his good relationship with Pellegrini, Kažimír is willing to wait for the budget on the parliament’s agenda at the end of the year. Head of the Financial Administration, Frantisek Imrecze, is mentioned among insiders as the hottest candidate to replace Kažimír.

Smer may miss him

In his party, the ruling Smer, Kažimír is perceived as a person who does not like to deal with party politics or disputes and prefers to focus on figures, despite being cabinet vice-chair.

He may replace the incumbent NBS Governor Jozef Makúch at the end of 2018, although the latter’s term officially ends in 2021. NBS did not comment on whether Makúch will end his term prematurely.

Kažimír reacted by telling Sme he was working on next year’s budget.

Deputies, even from Smer, are confirming the rumours on the finance minister changing his career. Kažimír has set the standard for the finance minister post high, but everyone can be replaced, Smer MP Marián Kéry said. Vice-chair of the party caucus, Miroslav Číž, considers the minister’s ambition natural, too.

Opposition reacts

A respected economist without links to Smer should be appointed to lead the NBS, MP for the opposition SaS party, Eugen Jurzyca, told the SITA newswire.

Jurzyca added that the governing party is a disaster for a healthy economic environment in Slovakia. After the unsuccessful candidacy of the finance minister for the head post of the Euro-group, his departure to lead NBS could be seen as another attempt to escape the “sinking ship”, according to the SaS. Therefore, SaS declare that they would not support Kažimír’s candidacy for NBS governor in parliament.

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