Fico: Smer-SD MPs Shouldn’t Attend No-confidence Vote in Richter

Prime Minister Robert Fico (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 6 (TASR) – Prime Minister Robert Fico at a news conference following the Cabinet session on Wednesday stated that he’s suggested that MPs representing his governing Smer-SD party should not attend Thursday’s (August 4) special parliamentary session at which the Opposition wants to dismiss Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Minister Jan Richter (Smer-SD).

The Cabinet at the session passed a disapproving stance on the Opposition’s proposal to dismiss Richter, as it finds it to be unfounded.

Fico views the move as the misuse of a no-confidence motion and “ridiculous Opposition games”. “The special session starts tomorrow, and we’ve adopted a clear Government position today that it is nothing but classic abuse of a no-confidence motion by the Opposition,” said Fico.

“I don’t know whether the others will accept my proposal or not, but I think that we shouldn’t take part in a show like this at all, none of us. Let them talk there as much as they want,” said the prime minister.

A special parliamentary session with a no-confidence motion in Richter as the sole item on the agenda will take place on Thursday (September 7) afternoon. The Opposition believes that the minister failed to deal properly with the Clean Day resocialisation centre case.
[The Clean Day resocialisation centre retained its licence for almost one year after a scandal involving the alleged sexual abuse of minors at the facility broke out. – ed. note]

The co-governing Slovak National Party (SNS) has expressed reservations concerning Richter’s performance in the post, [but the latest information indicates that SNS-nominated ministers on Wednesday supported the aforementioned Cabinet stance. – ed. note]
Fico said that the labour minister still enjoys his trust. “Minister Richter has my absolute confidence … He’s a person that achieves fantastic results in his sector, and I don’t intend to respect these ridiculous Opposition games,” he added.

One of the reasons why the Opposition wants to oust Richter is his alleged “non-transparent and corrupt” behaviour. However, the Cabinet believes that the Labour Ministry proceeded in an absolutely transparent manner in the Clean Day case and that it repeatedly provided maximum cooperation to the human rights and social affairs parliamentary committees in conducting MPs’ surveys. The Government also stated that the minister has informed the public about the ministry’s steps.

“The Government views the accusations of Richter’s corrupt behaviour as absolutely unfounded, as the minister hasn’t been suspected of applying corrupt methods in the Clean Day case or in any other cases for the whole of his time in this post,” stressed the Cabinet, adding that no facts concerning alleged corrupt behaviour have been included in the proposal for his ouster.