Human Rights, and Lefts! The new government

Slovak Parliament
So, Slovakia has a new government, a fresh start, a bright future. Or does it?
The new opposition played hard so as to get what it wanted from the new four ruling parties, and although they didn’t get everything they wanted, they haven’t done so bad.
We can only speculate about the motives behind their demands, such as why Smer-SD wants to have control over the secret police (SIS) and the National Security Bureau, and why SNS wants to have a finger on the Human Rights Committee, which for some, including Most-Hid MP Onrej Dostal, seem like odd choices.

A nationalist party that does not hide its obvious contempt for our Hungarian neighbours, among other things, may not exactly seem like the right candidate to deal with Human Rights, Minorities and Equal Opportunities. So why did the new coalition ‘surrender’ these posts to them?

Although the statements made by MP for Most-Hid, Ondrej Dostal, caused controversy at the first session, he has to be respected for speaking his mind. He said that it was a bad joke and that handing the Human Rights agenda to someone from the SNS would be like getting SNS leader Jan Slota to run a rehabilitation centre for alcoholics (given his apparent love of the stuff). SNS deputy head Belousovova took exception to this and other comments, and later took him aside to say: “Watch your mouth or you’ll get it slapped.” This may not be the most appropriate behaviour for someone who was eventually elected chairwoman of the Human Rights Committee in the end, thanks also to the curious help of 19 coalition votes.

SMER-SD on the other hand, has different ambitions. It took control over eight key parliamentary committees, by which it now holds the pulse of the National Security Bureau (NBU) committee, the NBU supervisory committee, the secret police SIS supervisory committee, and, just to cap things off in taking total control of the country’s security, also the Military Intelligence supervisory committee. Maybe no single party should have such a stronghold over the country’s security, whether it is opposition or government.

Another quirk comes from SMER-SD taking over the Committee for Media, considering the party’s, and its chairman’s, approach to the media over the last election term. Does this mean that the SaS’ plans to privatise state press agency TASR, combine the national TV and radio stations, and totally rework the restricting Press Act will also be swept under the carpet?

So let’s drink to democracy and all it brings, and all that it doesn’t. Let’s raise our glasses to our new top officials and wish them pureness of heart, good conscience and the very best of luck.

Parliamentary committee assignments (10 for the government and 9 for opposition):

Special Parliamentary Committee Controlling Military Intelligence – Peter Ziga (Smer-SD)

Special Parliamentary Committee controlling the National Security Bureau (NBU) – Marian Salon (Smer-SD)

Special Parliamentary Committee Inspecting Decisions of the National Security Bureau (NBU) – Jana Lassakova (Smer-SD)

Conflict of Interest Committee – Renata Zmajkovicova (Smer-SD)

Committee for Media – Dusan Jarjabek (Smer-SD)

Committee for Public Administration and Regional Development – Igor Choma (Smer-SD)

Committee for Human Rights, Minorities and Equal Opportunities – Anna Belousovova (SNS)

Parliamentary Education Committee – Dusan Caplovic (Smer-SD)

Special Parliamentary Committee Controlling Intelligence Service (SIS) – Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD)

Committee for EU Affairs – Ivan Stefanec (SDKU-DS)

Committee for Economy – Stanislav Janis (SDKU-DS)

Committee for Healthcare – Viliam Novotny (SDKU-DS)

Committee for Defence and Security – Martin Fedor (SDKU-DS)

Constitutional Committee – Radoslav Prochazka (KDH)

Committee for Agriculture – Maria Sabolova (KDH)

Committee for Social Affairs – Julius Brocka (KDH)

Committee for Foreign Affairs – Frantisek Sebej (Most-Hid)

Mandate and Immunity Committee – Gabor Gal (Most-Hid)

Committee for Finance – Jozef Kollar (SaS)

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