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Slovakian report
by Euro Reporter
2016-08-22 11:25:04
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Slovakia’s coalition partner splits, but government will stay on

Five members of Slovakia’s junior coalition party, Siet, quit the party yesterday (16 August), but they said they would continue to support the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, the faction said in a statement. The slovakia_400five dissenters, who remain members of parliament, have long criticised party Chief Radoslav Prochazka for authoritarian decision making. Prochazka was replaced at a congress last weekend, but the rebels oppose the new leader, Roman Bercely, as well.

“We are leaving Siet as of today. We will continue to take part in fulfilling the government programme,” the faction said. The governing coalition, consists of Fico’s leftist Smer party, the centre-right Slovak National Party, the ethnic Hungarian Most party, and Siet. It is backed by 81 lawmakers in the 150-member parliament. A spokeswoman for Smer said the departure would not have any effect on the government. Slovakia holds the rotating six-month European Union presidency until December.

The rebels said they would negotiate the possibility of joining Most (Bridge), a centrist party which aims to bring together Slovaks and the ethnic Hungarian minority. Political analysts say the departure may lead to a shakeup at the transport ministry because Siet, now left with only two lawmakers, may lose the power to nominate a minister. Siet has been the weakest link among the four coalition parties since they formed a government after an inconclusive election in March. Even before the coalition agreement was signed, it lost three out of 10 lawmakers who refused to join a Fico-led coalition.


Slovakia to sign additional protocol on prevention of terrorism

The Cabinet gave its approval for Slovakia to sign the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, which is a response to so-called foreign terrorist fighters. The protocol defines such fighters as people who enter conflict zones with the intention of committing terrorist acts there or of participating in armed conflicts. The cabinet passed the proposal to sign the protocol on August 17.

Justice Ministry legislation section director Juraj Palúš explained for the TASR newswire that the protocol is against the financing of individual terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters. Palúš said that some of the measures stemming from the protocol were already adopted as part of an anti-terrorist package last year.

The government has commissioned Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská and Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák with analysing the additional protocol and with proposing legislative changes if deemed necessary, in order to implement the protocol.


Slovakia to ban far-right patrols targeting Roma on trains

Far-right opposition party members began patrolling trains in April after a teenage boy attacked a woman. Slovakia will outlaw vigilante patrols by a far-right party on its railways that have targeted the country's large Roma minority, the government said Friday. Members of the far-right opposition People's Party Our Slovakia (L'SNS) began patrolling Slovak trains in April after a 16-year-old boy attacked a 21-year-old girl and stole her wallet. L'SNS party chairman and MP Marian Kotleba — accused by critics of being a neo-Nazi — labelled the offender a "Gypsy extremist." Leftist Prime Minister Robert Fico's coalition government has tabled a draft amendment to the Railroad Act, which would ban anyone other than police from patrolling the railways, justice ministry spokesman Peter Bubla told AFP Friday.

"The aim is to eliminate the unjustifiable situation where paramilitary patrols roam public passenger trains," Abel Ravasz, the government's Roma affairs representative, told AFP Friday.

"These patrols were problematic mainly because they are aimed at intimidating one minority — the Roma." L'SNS MP Milan Uhrik slammed the proposed changes in a Facebook post, saying: "Nobody is dealing with drunkards, and anti-social Gypsy extremists." The proposed legislation is expected to easily pass through parliament where Fico's coalition commands 81 seats in the 150-member body. The L'SNS party controls just 14 seats.  "Groups that want to give the impression that the state can't do its job... will always seek to enforce their extremist agenda in the society," said Bubla. "I have no doubt that if we stop them on trains, they will look for other ways."


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