SaS Not to Support Government Manifesto

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SaS leader Richard Sulik. (Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 13 (TASR) – Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party in its initial criticism of the Government Manifesto said the proof will be in the pudding – that the main pitfall of the Manifesto will lie in its implementation.

“Based on previous experiences, we have to declare that political parties have learned to draft government manifestos that look pleasing to the eye on the surface. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet learnt to govern in compliance with them,” reads the statement of the opposition Freedom and Solidarity party released late Wednesday.

The liberals claim that the single-party government of Smer-SD (2012-16) also had noble sounding plans for fighting corruption in its manifesto, yet the subsequent reality didn’t correspond with the document. “It also had plans to combat tax evasion and fraud, yet the current case of entrepreneur Ladislav Basternak demonstrates that this fight was applied selectively. Therefore, we take the current proclamations of the fight against corruption and tax evasion in the Government Manifesto with a large grain of salt. All the more so since all the main actors – suspected of covering up bribes, manipulations and frauds – remain in their posts,” reads the text.

SaS concedes that some of the proposals and goals in the Manifesto sound promising, such as those in the sphere of education, the attempt to reform health care, to introduce guidelines for political nominations and strive for the professionalisation of the state administration.

However, the liberals also harbour fundamental objections. “We see the plan to acquire a balanced public budget by 2020 as a cheap trick, used by the future Government to cover its inability to consolidate public finances by 2018 – as promised. Also, the reduction of income tax for companies to 21 percent is absolutely inadequate and works to erode the competitiveness of Slovakia within the V4 (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia). We see no sensible reason to wait with the scrapping of tax licences until 2018,” according to the SaS statement.

Although the governing coalition talks about the intention to improve the business environment, its tendencies to introduce a special levy for chain stores, special incentives for spa businesses and attempts to increase the share of Slovak groceries on the domestic market are counterproductive and lead to discrimination and protectionism.