Coalition Council Meeting Cancelled due to Fico’s Health Issues

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Prime Minister Robert Fico (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, August 11 (TASR) – The Coalition Council won’t meet on Friday after all due to health problems experienced by Prime Minister and Smer-SD party leader Robert Fico, TASR learnt on the same day.

“Prime Minister Robert Fico won’t attend a meeting of the Coalition Council in Parliament on August 11 due to health issues,” said the premier’s spokesperson Beatrice Szaboova on Friday morning.

Most-Hid chairman Bela Bugar said that he’d learnt about the meeting’s cancellation en route to Parliament, where the meeting was scheduled to be held at 10 a.m. He said that no alternative date has been set yet.

SNS first vice-chairman Jaroslav Paska wished Fico a speedy recovery “so that he’ll be in good enough shape to carry on”.

Paska added that the parties have until September 1 to discuss an addendum to the coalition agreement. “We’ll wait,” he said.

The addendum is intended to amend the coalition’s inner workings, he said, adding that SNS holds firm to its demands.

The now cancelled meeting was convened to discuss those demands and to help the parties to smooth over their differences.

Smer MP Dusan Jarjabek said that he’s unaware of any specifics regarding Fico’s health-related problems. “I read this morning about health problems occurring at the most inopportune of moments,” he said.

Weighing in on the crisis engulfing the coalition, Jarjabek is confident that “this storm in a teacup will die down, and next month it will be a mere recollection of how we set things right”.

“The coalition has a sense of responsibility, which it’s demonstrated on several occasions,” said Jarjabek, who wouldn’t disclose whether his party will yield to SNS’s demands, however.

“They must be made clear to begin with. So far I’ve only read about them in media reports. They’re proposals in social policy, and I think they’ll be discussed,” he added.

The coalition has been in somewhat of a quandary since Monday, when SNS leader and Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko pulled out of the coalition agreement.

That said, the three leaders agreed at a meeting earlier this week that a break-up of the coalition isn’t on the cards.

SNS is facing a backlash over controversial allocations of EU funds towards research by the Education, Science, Research and Sport Ministry, which is headed by its nominee Peter Plavcan.

The party has said that the coalition’s predicament stems from Smer’s failure to abide by the coalition agreement, however. To add insult to injury, SNS believes that Smer has co-opted the Opposition OLaNO-NOVA party and that the two are working in close liaison in an effort to blacken SNS. Fico’s advisor Erik Tomas, who’s been singled out by SNS as responsible for efforts to harm SNS, has shaken off the allegations, calling them “absurd”.