Following last week’s revelations about suspected cronyism of health minister Ivan Uhliarik from the ruling KDH party, head of opposition party Smer-SD made a call for the head of the Ministry of Health to stand down or be recalled.
Fico referred to the scandal, which involved a speedy exemption granted in December to pharmaceutical company Pfizer (where Uhliarik worked for years), as a prime example of cronyism and corruption.
Thanks to the exemption, Uhliarik helped Pfizer gain an order “to the tune of EUR 10 million” Fico claimed. Fico then attacked Uhliarik’s KDH party, referring to KDH chairman and transport minister Jan Figel as feeble.
Uhliarik rejects the accusations of crony practices and has even said that thanks to his exemption the country saved millions of euro. After explaining his position to the KDH leaders, they decided to back him in his defence.
Fico sent a message to vice-chairman of the KDH party, interior minister Daniel Lipsic, that he is always going on about catching big fish and so he should ‘cut this big fish into tiny pieces”.
Today Prime Minister Iveta Radicova is having what she called a “serious chat” with the health minister, and Fico will be anxiously anticipating the outcome as he said he is more interested in the reaction of the PM and of interior minister Lipsic than he is in calling a no-confidence motion to recall Uhliarik.