The fight against corruption and repairing the justice system were leading voters' expectations , which brought Igor Matovič to power last March. When his cabinet took over, observers agreed that their popularity would partly depend on how much they would be able to pursue their promised transparency and anti-corruption measures.
And while the charges that have been pressed against some high-profile former state and police figures and the vast judiciary reform of Justice Minister Mária Kolíková (Za Ľudí), satisfy some expectations, the government has also had its eyebrow-raiser moments. This includes the latest attempt of the Deputy PM for Legislation, Sme Rodina nominee Štefan Holý, to revise the public procurement law.
Since it was proposed late in 2020, Holý's amendment has faced vocal criticism from the non-governmental sector, the head of the Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) and even ruling coalition partners. They opined that it does not bring more transparency in the public procurement – quite the opposite.
“Honestly, I do not quite understand this legislative initiative,” Miroslav Kollár, Za Ľudí MP and mayor of the western-Slovak town of Hlohovec, said on his Facebook page. The amendment goes against the intentions the government declared in its programme statement. Kollár went as far as saying the revision, if it passes as proposed, would be a reason for him to re-consider his support for the coalition.
Neither Holý nor Sme Rodina have commented on the objections toward the revision the deputy PM authored. The NGOs even asserted that Holý was not willing to meet with them to discuss his proposal. They have submitted a public comment to his law, which was signed by some 4,000 signatures, in the hope that they will make the deputy PM talk with them.
In addition to the criticism of the revision's content, the General Prosecutor's Office submitted its comment during the interdepartmental review, noting that Holý in his capacity as deputy PM for legislation does not possess the competency to revise the public procurement rules. Holý and his office should engage in coordination and support of the legislation process, while proposing changes to public procurement law is under the competency of ÚVO.
Procurement authority calls for withdrawal