Opposition Collects Enough Votes for No-confidence Motion in Matecna

Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matecna (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, May 17 (TASR) – Opposition parties Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), OLaNO and We Are Family have managed to collect enough signatures to initiate a no-confidence motion in Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee).

The Opposition parties will deliver the signatures to Parliament’s registry later on Thursday. Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) will then have seven days to convene a special parliamentary session with this issue as the sole point on the agenda.
SaS vice-chair Lucia Duris Nicholsonova (SaS) has told TASR that 44 signatures have been collected, more than the 30 needed to initiate a no-confidence motion.

Opposition representatives accuse Matecna of repeated failures in her current post, as well as in her previous one as head the Slovak Land Fund (SPF). SaS leader Richard Sulik last week pointed to problems including the theft of farmers’ land and crops as well as physical attacks on farmers.

Also last week OLaNO leader Igor Matovic pointed to the shady allocation of agricultural subsidies in eastern Slovakia and issues concerning the transfer and sale of land. “When weeds grow on farmers’ fields, they spray them. We, Opposition politicians, can only use one tool against this weed that has grown in the post of agriculture minister – drawing attention to it and filing a no-confidence motion,” said Matovic.

The Opposition doesn’t have enough votes to recall Matecna, so the motion would have to be supported by coalition MPs, as well. “I’m personally relying on people such as Marek Madaric, maybe Juraj Podmanicky (both Smer-SD) and Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid), and I believe that more people will join,” stated Matovic.

Matecna, who was also criticised by Prosecutor-General Jaromir Ciznar, rejects these accusations. Meanwhile, she announced on Monday that contracts included in a call for EU-fund support for investment in the development of non-farming activities will be reassessed. She views six press conferences held by Opposition parties last week in which they attacked her during her absence from Slovakia as politicking, which she claimed, damages the Agriculture Ministry.

“I’d like strictly to separate two things – politicking and a professional discussion. There’s definitely a need to find consensus between them, as we are politicians, as well. Politicians should know that they must have relevant arguments if they want to attack somebody and not only pull out a paper and pin scandals on people, and not only on me personally. This offends me, as this scandalising concerns all people working in the agricultural sector, either at the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry, or at the Agricultural Payment Agency (PPA) and all the other institutions,” said Matecna.