Slovak PM threatens to quit if re-election of top prosecutor

Radicova said she may quit as soon as Tuesday if allies in her fractious coalition help the opposition re-elect the country's top prosecutor against her wishes.

Slovak PM threatens to quit if re-election of top prosecutor

Slovak Prime Minister Iveta Radicova said she may quit as soon as Tuesday if allies in her fractious coalition help the opposition re-elect the country's top prosecutor against her wishes.

The threat is an attempt to quash dissent by backbenchers in the centre-right coalition, who have repeatedly blocked the cabinet's candidate for the post, in the most serious threat to the government's survival since it took office in July.

The chief prosecutor is a key figure in Slovakia where top politicians routinely accuse each other of corruption.

Graft was a big issue before the general election in June this year, and Radicova has been intensifying her threats to leave if the incumbent supported by the previous ruling leftists party SMER, of ex Prime Minister Robert Fico, remains in place.

"I explained myself clearly ... I will step down (if Dobroslav Trnka is re-elected)," Radicova said in a live television debate on Sunday. When asked about Tuesday's vote and how she feels about keeping the prime minister's post, Radicova said: "Honestly ... I have an uncertain feeling."

Her departure would not automatically trigger a new election but would shake the euro zone country which has so far managed to escape market turbulence that has hit other, more indebted euro zone periphery states.

If the prime minister quits, another coalition may be formed, or even the same coalition may form a new cabinet. A snap election would be the last-resort option.

Political analyst Samuel Abraham said Radicova's threat may work if the opposition does not get enough government votes in the secret ballot to re-elect Trnka, but she was still being weakened politically.

"I do not think that this (Radicova's threat) was a wise step," Abraham said. "I do not think that Trnka will be elected on Tuesday. (But) this is not about Trnka, this is, rather, about rifts within the coalition." The coalition will meet on Monday to debate the current situation, following a failed Thursday vote, where the opposition fell just two votes short of electing Trnka.

The coalition, when in full strength, has 79 seats in the 150-seat parliament, but at least four deputies joined the opposition ranks in the vote on Thursday.

"The coalition has been fragile from the very beginning, I just hope deputies are aware of what kind of a government programme they endorsed," Radicova said.

Reuters

Last Mod: 06 Aralık 2010, 17:29
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