Rumbles within the coalition again as finance minister Ivan Miklos stands firm against Prime Minister Iveta Radicova over the affair concerning a rental contract signed by the Tax Directorate.
The affair started after Robert Fico’s opposition party SMER-SD pointed to a 5-year lease agreement worth around EUR 6.6 million to rent a building in Kosice for the tax office. Robert Fico claimed that the governing SDKU party would get a commission from the deal, as the man who signed the contract on behalf of the tax authority, general director Miroslav Mikulcik, is a close friend of finance minister Ivan Miklos.
Fico then called for the PM to recall Miklos or he would call a no-confidence motion on her in parliament.
The Prime Minister, although claiming no cronyism was involved, eventually called for head of the tax authority Mikulcik to step down from his post. Miklos, however, said there were no relevant reasons for him to do so as the facts show that he acted in the public interest and in line with the law, and even saved taxpayers around EUR 3.5 million.
Today at a press conference (which was cancelled yesterday because of a bogus bomb threat), finance minister Miklos pointed out that he was well aware of his responsibility, but also his jurisdiction, and so he would not be doing his job right if he let others interfere with his through pressure, either from the media or the Prime Minister.
The situation has created a head-to-head between Miklos and the PM and so will also be dealt with today at the SDKU party leadership meeting, with the party making it clear that it stands behind the PM. There is even talk of a power struggle within the SDKU, but Miklos made it clear that he was not interested in becoming Prime Minister.