Deputy Defence Minister subject of coalition clash

Topical issue

Deputy Defence Minister subject of coalition clash

14. 05. 2018 15:00

The coalition Most-Híd party stands behind its nominee - Deputy Defence Minister Róbert Ondrejcsák, after another coalition Slovak National Party (SNS) member expressed the opinion that he should no longer work in this post. The Defence Ministry is led by SNS nominee Peter Gajdoš and it has been criticized in media for the purchase of transporters in recent months.

In December 2017, Ondrejcsák said for the Hospodárske Noviny daily, that he himself did not have access to all the documents regarding the purchase of armoured vehicles with a value of over €1 billion and that the SNS did not let him see it. He also told media that the purchase did not seem transparent to him and that before joining defence ministry he had expected discussions with the SNS to be more rational, not emotional, and the communication of the ministry to be on a more expert level.

Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš said that Ondrejcsák had crossed a line by criticizing the party, adding that "problems within the coalition should be solved at home." Most-Híd Chair Béla Bugár also voiced criticism against the Deputy Defence Minister "If Mr. Ondrejcsák has a problem, he should solve it with his superior, i.e. with the defence minister and not with the SNS," said Bugár.

MP for SNS Anton Hrnko responded by commenting on Ondrejcsák. "A friend of lobbyists sponsored by Saab has no right to attack the SNS," stated Hrnko, adding that the Deputy Defence Minister could not have afforded his house in the Hungarian village of Rajka, a few kilometres away from Bratislava, from his official income.

"The statements by Mr. Hrnko are so ridiculous that it would be painful for me to comment on them," reacted Ondrejcsák. The opposition MP for Freedom and Solidarity and former Defence Minsiter Ľubomír Galko agreed that Ondrejcsák had acted abnormally, however, he believes that the reason behind this is the large lack of transparency at the ministry. His party also believes that it would be best for Slovakia if the SNS left the Defence Ministry. Coalition MP for Most-Híd and former Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská defended Ondrejcsák, saying that he is doing a good job and that she identifies with his stances.

On Sunday, the Most-Híd party published a statement on social media. "Robert Ondrejcsák has been criticising the limited space for work at the Defence Ministry for a long time, not only in connection with the medialised tenders. We will listen to his arguments within the party. Most-Híd leader Béla Bugár will also initiate a meeting with SNS leader Andrej Danko and seek suitable space for exchanging opinions at the Coalition Council meeting, rather than sending messages through the media," wrote the party.

Mojmir Prochazka, Photo: TASR

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