News digest: Parliament bins request to arrest ex-PM Fico

A Russian missile hit a station near the Slovak border. The design of a monument honouring murdered journalist Ján Kuciak has been unveiled.

(Source: m.smedata.sk)

Good evening. The Wednesday, May 4 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.


Parliament rejected Fico’s arrest

The charged ex-prime minister and MP Robert Fico of the former ruling party Smer will avoid pre-trial custody.

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The parliament did not support a request submitted by the General Prosecutor’s Office, where it asks for approval to arrest Fico, on Wednesday, May 4. During the vote, 74 lawmakers backed the request.

The consent of an absolute majority of the lawmakers present was required to permit the arrest of the Smer chair. All 150 MPs were present during the Wednesday vote. Hence, 76 votes were needed for the request to be passed.

Even if the parliament had given its consent to the arrest, a court would have had to decide on taking Fico into pre-trial custody.


A Russian missile near the Slovak border

Slovak air defence systems have registered an attack in western Ukraine.

A Russian missile hit the Ukrainian Transcarpathian region on May 3, approximately 100 kilometres from the Slovak border. Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď admitted that the close proximity of the attack has unnerved him.

“The attack was meant to destroy a railway station,” Naď said. “I must warn people to reconsider travelling from or back to Ukraine, especially by train.”

WAR IN UKRAINE

  • More than 3,300 Ukrainian refugees crossed the Slovak-Ukrainian border to enter Slovakia on May 3, the Interior Ministry announced. The ministry added that 314 refugees applied for temporary protection on the same day, while the number of refugees with temporary protection status has increased to more than 73,000.
  • Slovakia will buy medicines for Ukraine for €1.4 million.

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FEATURE STORY

Brand new construction law adopted after 50 years

Slovakia will have new construction legislation after almost half a century.

Lawmakers have passed new laws written by Deputy Prime Minister Štefan Holý. The country is thus in for a revolution in the construction permit process.

“Not a correction, not an amendment, not some overcooked chewed-up thing. We ve passed a completely new law, a modern one that reflects the needs of ordinary people, Holý says.

The path to passing the law was long and in many cases a source of controversy.

What are the changes the law brings?


PHOTO FOR WEDNESDAY

Garden

The winning visualisation of the Freedom of Speech Monument, intended to honour murdered journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, has been announced.

The “Garden” project, designed by Benjamín Brádňanský, Vít Halada and Martin Piaček, will be installed in Veľká Mača next year. The couple lived in the town before they were murdered.

The monument will represent the change in Slovak society that followed after the killings, as well as the future of a free and democratic country.

Latest developments in the Kuciak murder retrial: On May 3, the Specialised Criminal Court heard the testimonies of prosecutors regarding the murders the defendants Marian Kočner and Alena Zsuzsová are believed to have ordered.


IN OTHER NEWS

  • Economy Minister Richard Sulík has said Slovakia supports another proposed package of anti-Russian sanctions, but has added that Slovakia is asking the EU for solidarity given the country’s high dependence on Russian gas and oil. Slovakia demands a three-year-long transition period when it comes to the Russian oil embargo. The EU is expected to approve the transition period. Its duration is under discussion. “Hungary wants permanent exemption. It is therefore unfair and wrong to see us in the same light as Hungary here,” the minister said.
  • Lawmakers have approved the maximum number of NATO soldiers – 3,000 – who could operate in Slovakia as part of the Alliance’s battlegroup. In March, the parliament initially agreed to 2,100 NATO soldiers.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová has reappointed General Daniel Zmeko as the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic. The government decided on his reappointment on April 27.
  • Slovakia will send 124,000 Covid-19 vaccines for children to Belize, the government announced.
  • The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised in Slovak hospitals is further decreasing. On May 3, hospitals reported 591 patients. There were 746 new Covid-19 infections detected in Slovakia. Five people died of Covid-19.
  • New Slovak ID cards will include fingerprints and a face photo in the form of biometric data from next year. MPs passed an amendment to the Act on Identity Cards on May 4.

More on Spectator.sk:


POLITICS Slurs against president at Smer demo raise eyebrows in parliament Read more  TRAVEL Hnúšťa to open museum with underground tours Read more 

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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