Week in Slovakia: Assassination attempt on PM

Week in Slovakia: Assassination attempt on PM

1. Slovak PM shot and injured, he suffered serious polytrauma and is in a life threating condition 2. Incumbent President and elected candidate for President call for calming the atmosphere in the society, inviting political leaders to Presidential Palace 3. The attack on PM has lead to postponement of debates in Parliament 4. Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner concerned about two Slovak draft laws

On Wednesday, Slovak Prime Minister was shot and injured by a gunman in Handlová, a small western Slovak town where the government was holding it session. According to the information available on Friday morning, his medical condition was stabilised but still serious. The PM has suffered serious polytrauma and was transported to the Banská Bystrica hospital where he underwent a 5-hour surgery.

The shooter is a 71-year-old man, he was detained by police and charged with murder of a protected person, and he faces a sentence of 25 years up to a life imprisonment.

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At the government session in Handlová, the government has approved the plan to build a new nuclear reactor in Jaslovské Bohunice with an output of up to 1,200 megawatts. Finance and Economy Ministers now have to prepare the details of the project by the end of October.

Health and Culture Ministers will continue in their positions. Parliament did not approve the ousting of the two ministers initiated by the opposition; the government has backed their ministers.

On Wednesday, Parliament was discussing the law on Slovak public broadcaster STVR that would effectively abolish RTVS. The session was however adjourned due to the attack on PM. At the beginning of the session, MPs restricted the debate, so it will be only debated for 24 hours in the first reading. The time will be redistributed among the various parliamentary clubs.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Michael O'Flaherty, has expressed concern about the compatibility of two draft laws with human rights standards - the law on NGOs and the law on public service broadcaster STVR. He has addressed a letter to the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and four chairs of parliamentary committees.

About 250 activists and artists gathered in front of the Parliament on Tuesday, in protest against the amendment to the Act on the Slovak Arts Council. They referred to some of the proposed changes in the Council as "totalitarian procedures". The final reading was planned for Wednesday but it was also postponed because of the attack on the PM.

The coalition has passed 23 laws in a fast-track legislative procedure during its first 6 months and further legislation in such procedure is planned for the coming days. Their amount is now gradually reaching the amounts that the governments of Robert Fico previously achieved in one electoral term (4 years). MP for Smer-SD Tibor Gašpar justifies the excessive use of the procedure by wanting to deliver on their pre-election promises quickly.

The current record is held by the governments of Igor Matovič and Eduard Heger (110 laws passed in fast track procedure). At that times, they have justified the use of this procedure with the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Supreme Audit Office, the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Slovakia has failed. The results show that the state did not have a crisis management system, the Head of the Audit Office said the situation was saved by volunteers, the army, hygienists, doctors and local governments. The office is also examining the purchase of vaccines and subsidies for the operation of mobile centres for COVID-19 testing.

Chair of the Specialised Criminal Court Ján Hrubala is leaving office. The Justice Minister criticises him for undertaking disciplinary action against judge Michal Truban. Ján Hrubala has said he disagrees with the critique and is convinced that he acted in accordance with his powers. However, the minister's lack of confidence would be an obstacle for him to continue in office, he said.

Marcela Kosová became the new Chair of the Judicial Council, replacing Ján Mazák. Six members of the council that argued the post has to be held by an apolitical chair nominated her. Ján Mazák was dismissed from the post in April. He disagreed with the step and submitted a complaint at the Constitutional Court, but it was rejected. Ján Mazák was also removed from his position as a member of Judicial Council by the Parliament.

The opening hours of outpatient emergency rooms for children will be reduced as of July. According to Health Minister Zuzana Dolinková, the measure is intended to ensure accessible healthcare for children until more paediatricians start their practices. The society of paediatricians say this is a necessary measure because of lack of medical staff.

Slovak Antimonopoly Office has initiated administrative proceedings regarding a possible cartel agreement between five medical diagnostics laboratories, restricting competition.

This week, the Starmus festival was held in Bratislava. Visitors were able to attend lectures by renowned scientists, among them nine Nobel Prize winners. The festival was opened by a performance by Jean-Michel Jarre and Brian May attended by .

The world-famous Slovak opera diva Ľubica Rybárska died. She worked as a soloist of the Slovak National Theatre Opera, but also as a professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava.

After a lost match last Friday, Slovak ice hockey team has notched 3 consecutive wins at the IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic, beating Kazakhstan, USA and Poland. On Saturday, the Slovak team will meet the team of France.

Mountaineer Lucia Janičová has become the first Slovak woman to climb to the top of the Mount Everest, from the Nepalese side via the southern route with oxygen support. She has achieved this along with the first Kazakh woman, Anar Burasheva.

Martin Bednárik

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