Prime Minister Robert Fico will be facing a vote of no confidence on Thursday 13 February over the emissions scandal from his first government back in 2008, when his Smer-SD party was in a coalition with the HZDS and SNS parties.
The scandal recently grabbed the attention of the media again after Swiss authorities sent information about their own investigation into the scandal, which saw Slovakia’s CO2 emission quotas sold off via the dubious Interblue Group. The Swiss dossier lists all the people and companies that had anything to do with the sale, which saw those involved skim a nice EUR 47 million from the transaction.
Now three opposition parties (KDH, Most-Hid, SDKU) are petitioning for PM Fico to stand down, not only as the scandal took place right under his nose as prime minister at the time, but in the way he and interior minister Robert Kalinak dealt with the exposure of the incriminating list, denying any knowledge of it at first.
With Fico now running in the presidential race, his party is calling the no-confidence motion a smear campaign against their leader, who leads the polls as the winner of the first round of the presidential elections on 15 March. His closest rival, philanthropist Andrej Kiska, was recently tipped as beating Fico in the second round, according to a Focus poll out this week.
The no confidence vote will take place at 9 am on Thursday morning, despite the standalone Smer-SD government issuing a statement that PM Fico already assumed his political liability for the scandal back in 2009, when he removed the Ministry of Environment from the remit of the nationalist party SNS and sacked two of its appointed ministers.
Parliamentary chair Pavol Paska had to convene the extraordinary session as three parties petitioned for it, but Smer-SD still enjoys a comfortable majority in parliament and the no-confidence motion should have a predictable outcome.