News digest: President Čaputová’s critical address to parliament

New flights from Bratislava airport, charges against opposition leader Robert Fico scrapped.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Tuesday, November 29 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.


President tells coalition to leave if it cannot rule better

On Tuesday, President Zuzana Čaputová addressed parliament in her State of the Republic speech, which she described as “one of her most critical addresses”.

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The president touched on various subjects, starting with the hundreds of thousands of people living in poverty. If people are poor, society becomes frustrated and radicalised, she stressed.

Though she praised Eduard Heger’s government for its position on the war in Ukraine and several reforms, be it a recovery plan or packages to improve the business environment, the president did not shy away from criticising the coalition government for its sluggish, and even insufficient, support during ongoing crises, let alone the recent negotiations over salaries with doctors and the draft state budget for 2023.

“If we don’t protect democracy, we may become the last generation that will experience it,” Čaputová also warned, citing the need to fight disinformation, stop hatred and protect journalists.

In her indirect call, she told the government to rule better, not to divide society, and not to undermine people’s trust in democracy. If it fails to do so, she said, it would be better if a snap election took place.

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REACTIONS TO THE SPEECH

PM Eduard Heger: The prime minister agrees with the president that Slovakia has been facing hybrid threats, and that society is polarised. Heger blames populism. He also welcomes that the president noticed the good reforms that his government has adopted.

Speaker Boris Kollár: “I agree with some passages, for which I want to thank her, and I disagree with some.”

Smer chair Robert Fico: One of the opposition leaders accused the president of attacking the Smer party in her speech. Fico also said that she contributes to the polarisation of society.


FEATURE STORY FOR TUESDAY

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


OTHER TUESDAY NEWS IN A FEW LINES:

  • Hospital doctors warn politicians that their resignation letters will come into effect on November 30 unless they pass necessary changes that the government and a doctors’ union agreed on the past weekend. (TASR)
  • Ukraine has received 30 BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles from Slovakia, Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď announced on Tuesday.
  • Slovak Foreign Minister Rastislav Káčer said before NATO’s Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Romania on November 29, that NATO must avert the humanitarian disaster Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure may cause.
  • Bratislava airport will operate new flights to Athens, Greece, from June 2023 and to Kaunas, Lithuania, from March 2023.

Here’s more stories from The Slovak Spectator website


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