Richter Confident of Successful Defence in No-confidence Vote Scenario

Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Minister Jan Richter. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 9 (TASR) – Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Minister Jan Richter (Smer-SD) told Parliament on Thursday that if he were to face a no-confidence motion over the issue of the Clean Day resocialisation facility, he would put up a successful defence.

The idea of having Richter ousted via a parliamentary vote has been broached by Opposition MPs in response to the minister’s handling of the situation surrounding the centre in Galanta (Trnava region), which is facing an investigation into alleged sexual abuse of minors.

According to head of the Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) caucus Natalia Blahova speaking in December, the ministry’s decision to suspend proceedings on withdrawal of accreditation from the facility on grounds of a lack of evidence proving that the facility has engaged in wrongdoing looks rather like a political move. Richter’s decision reportedly came despite a recommendation to the contrary by the accreditation committee and despite the testimonies of former staff members.

Speaking during Parliament’s weekly ‘Question Time’, Richter said that he’s doubtful of the actual motives of a special report that outgoing ombudswoman Jana Dubovcova has drafted in part on Clean Day, as well as about the quality of the enquiry conducted in this regard.

“The report completely disregards even the most basic of powers that various bodies have in this respect. As a former judge, Mrs. Dubovcova should be well aware of the fact that it isn’t within the remit of bodies under our ministry to look into suspicions of sexual abuse,” said the minister.

He went on to say that if law-enforcement bodies conclude that no crime was committed, no independent inspection by the ministry is entitled to disregard such conclusions. Either way, the ministry is currently looking into ways to enhance the effectiveness of ministerial inspections, he said.

Blahova said earlier in the day that Richter will face a no-confidence vote unless he revokes the facility’s accreditation and makes amends at the ministry in line with Dubovcova’s findings. Blahova accused the minister of “substantial violations of laws, the Slovak Constitution and international treaties by which Slovakia is bound”.