News digest: Sulík asked to resign while police charge his predecessor

Former Smer deputy minister implicates her former cabinet colleague in bribery. Bratislava says no to gambling. Minister announces plan for return to schools after holidays.

Igor Matovič (left) and Richard Sulík (right) in May 2020. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Thursday, December 17, 2020. This is a free-of-charge service for our readers. If you want to support us, become a subscriber and get access to more detailed news and interesting feature stories from Slovakia.

Charges reach the ranks of Hlas

The police have pressed charges against Peter Žiga, former economy minister of Smer and current MP. Earlier this year, he joined the group of renegades from Smer and is now a member of Hlas, led by Peter Pellegrini.

The police confirmed he has been accused of bribery. According to Denník N, his former cabinet colleague Monika Jankovská, who also faces corruption charges, implicated him in an attempt to bribe a judge.

His name was also mentioned recently in connection with the testimonies of former police representatives facing charges in the Purgatory and Judas cases. Nitra-based businessman Norbert Bödör, who is currently in custody, reportedly paid €50,000 for one of Žiga's family member's not to be investigated.

Matovič wants Sulík to resign before Christmas

In the most recent escalation of tensions between the two coalition leaders, PM Igor Matovič called on Economy Minister Richard Sulík to step down due to what he described as his inability to procure antigen tests for Slovakia.

"It is obviously a reason for resignation and I would be very glad if he handed it in before Christmas," Matovič said on Thursday afternoon on the Radio Express daily political talk show.

Sulík, whose SaS party has recently scored higher than the OĽaNO party of Matovič in the polls, shows no intention to oblige. He said this was the time for deeds, not tears, and that precious time should not be wasted.

Plan for return to schools unveiled

Christmas holidays for pupils and students start on December 21 and will last at least until January 10.

Some children will be able to return to school the very next day, on January 11, 2021. However, the re-opening of schools will depend on the level they are in, according to the recently introduced alert system called COVID automat.

Slovakia is currently in the 3 and 4 warning level stage, Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS) said. He expects the situation to improve after Christmas, following the tougher restrictions.

Feature story for today

Two years ago, graphic designer Tomáš Kompaník set out on a journey around Slovakia to research a book, visiting one hundred villages and persuading locals to open up their large wooden chests and show him traditional costumes with rare and rich embroidery.

His book AHA100 is not another tawdry work by someone who wants to benefit from the growing popularity of folklore and folk motifs. In fact, it is a design piece and one of the most beautiful books of the year.

One village, one type of embroidery. A book-like box unveils 100 distinct Slovak designs Read more 

In other news

  • Bratislava councillors approved an absolute ban on gambling in the capital on December 17 in response to an anti-gambling petition. Out of the 40 councillors present, 39 voted for the ban and one abstained.
  • The injuries that former Police Corps president Milan Lučanský sustained in custody were not caused by another person, an inspection by the Justice Ministry confirmed. (TASR)
  • Skier Petra Vlhová was awarded the Athlete of the Year award for the second consecutive year. Cyclist Peter Sagan came second. The national football team is the best among team sports. Jozef Metelka is the best Paralympic athlete and the best Paralympic team is the national curling team.
  • Bratislava will work with a budget of €431 million. Councillors gave a green light to the budget for the city today. The city wants to continue ongoing projects in transport, public infrastructure, environment, maintenance, and social justice. (SITA)
  • Unionists from the Východoslovenská Energetika (VSE) energy distributor have gone on strike alert.

Do not miss on today:

How “artery-clogging” Slovak Christmas delicacies brought an American back to life Read more  Restart of Slovak economy should be green Read more  Demänovský cave system is the longest in the Carpathians Read more 

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