Danko: If Basternak Has Actually Done What is Said, Let Him Rot in Jail

SNS leader Danko on Basternak (photo by TASR)

If entrepreneur Ladislav Basternak has actually been involved in tax-related frauds as it has been said, let him rot in jail, Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) said on RTVS’s talk show ‘O 5 minut 12’ (Five Minutes to Twelve) on Sunday while answering the question of whether he minds that Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD) has remained in his post after Saturday’s Smer-SD congress.“I do not like Basternak. SNS nominated three ministers, I stand by them and I respect the coalition parties’ ministers… I have my party, SNS, I have been reforming and I’m not a member of any of Smer-SD’s organisation, so I don’t know why I should comment on the results of Smer-SD’s congress,” said Danko.

Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) leader and MEP Richard Sulik thinks that Danko is acting like a coward in this case and is burying his head in the sand concerning Kalinak. “SNS is not a blank sheet. The party has had its corruption scandals and Danko was its vice-chair at that time. These people have stayed there and we will experience with SNS the same as we are experiencing with Smer-SD today,” warned Sulik.

Sulik admitted that SaS wanted to rule with SNS following the March general election and is not ruling it out in the future, either. “We do not rule out a coalition like this if there is no other possibility; however, we will avoid it,” he said.

Danko, in a sharp tone, told Sulik that he will never attend any TV shows together with him anymore and that SNS will not join any coalition government that SaS is a part of. “We have no time to deal with criers,” said the parliamentary chairman.

Danko pointed to the fact that they’ve learnt to be spiteful towards each other, but they have forgotten that it destroys the state. “We perceive everything in a negativist manner, which reflects in the growing popularity of extremist powers and non-standard politicians. Politics is about knowing how to get connected with people rather than offending them,” assumes Danko.

Sulik also perceives people’s disgust which is, in his opinion, related to the failure to investigate scandals or complete their investigation. He mentioned Basternak, the nephews of former parliamentary chairman Pavol Paska (Smer-SD) and the Gorilla scandal [the wiretapping of conversations during the second government of Mikulas Dzurinda (2002-06) that allegedly concerned corrupt deals between big business and senior politicians].

Danko admitted that the state which has not moved for 26 years must improve its functioning and strengthen its powers. “Nevertheless, we cannot achieve justice by attacking each other, but by seeking solutions. These are brought about by Parliament and amending the law,” stated Danko.

Danko noted that if President Andrej Kiska enters politics, he would personally welcome it, since SaS and OLaNO-NOVA would lose voters and a constructive opposition would come. “There is no need to deal with whether the general election will take place in 2020 or any sooner. If people say they no longer want SNS, I will go into political retirement, if they don’t, we will continue,” added Danko.