While several representatives of the ruling coalition have called on Peter Kažimír, governor of the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS), the country’s central bank, to consider stepping down following corruption charges, the opposition sees no need for such a step.
Kažimír himself does not plan to resign. He considers the charges, reportedly linked to a bribe connected to the former head of the Financial Administration, František Imrecze, unjust. He says he is ready to clear his name and plans to file a complaint against the charges.
Many coalition members call for resignation
Kažimír responded to President Zuzana Čaputová, who recently stated that if she were him, she would seriously consider stepping down to protect the reputation of the institution he represents.
She added that she still respects the presumption of innocence, stressing it is up to the court to decide on guilt. She also said that she is the very last part of the chain when it comes to recalling Kažimír, as it first needs to be decided by the government and the parliament.
“It is one of many charges,” the president said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “What has been happening in Slovakia in the past few months is a very important cleansing and rectification process. I’m talking of not only dozens of charged people but also more than 20 people who have already confessed to corrupt activities. It’s a much-needed process that has to continue.”
She is not the only one calling on Kažimír to consider stepping down. A similar opinion was voiced by several representatives of the coalition parties. The junior coalition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) even said that the charges may harm the reputation of the entire country as Kažimír represents Slovakia in the European Central Bank’s Governing Council.
Igor Matovič, chair of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), said that if the charges are true, there is no reason for Kažimír to stay in the post. Yet, he added that the NBS governor is “irremovable” from his post, so it needs to be his personal decision, as reported by TASR.
Commenting on the charges, opposition politician Peter Pellegrini (Hlas) stressed the principle of the presumption of innocence. In his opinion, the accusations do not prevent Kažimír from doing his job until the court decides whether he is guilty or not.
“I believe him and his claims that nothing has happened,” Pellegrini said, as quoted by TASR, adding the charges are based on the testimony of a single person, Imrecze, who also faced charges for corruption but decided to cooperate with the police.
Another opposition leader, Robert Fico of Smer, also sees no reason for Kažimír to step down.
He even said that the NBS governor has been accused only because somebody wants to replace him in the post.
13. Oct 2021 at 17:17 | Compiled by Spectator staff