Fico: IVO Shouldn't Act as Independent Commentator of Politics

Prime Minister Robert Fico generally disapproves of the idea that the Institute for Public Issues (IVO) representatives act as independent commentators of the Slovak political scene, he said Wednesday following the cabinet meeting in Bratislava.

"We disapprove especially when it is quite clear who they are and what their positions are," said Fico in reaction to the annual report on the state of society made public by IVO on Monday. IVO has been producing the report since 1995.

Fico added that Grigorij Meseznikov, and the husband wife team of Martin Butora (former ambassador to the USA under the former government) and Zora Butorova can't act as if they are independent. "They can't publish booklets where the first page shows a roller and the last page depicts highways, while the content inside indicates that 2007 was a year of tyranny of the majority. What tyranny of the majority? How can someone use this in reference to the Slovak Government, which was formed in a legitimate manner?" asked Fico. He also noted that no-one doubts that the Cabinet emerged from democratic elections, it is supported by the Slovak public and is meeting the goals set out in its manifesto.

"I'm sorry they don't like the social-democratic programme, but that's their problem. They should have done a better job convincing voters, so the rightists would have won (in 2006 election) ... and then they could write today that Slovakia has the best right-wing party in the world," said Fico.

He underlined that he respects the named IVO representatives, but they should state they are "rightists and support Mikulas Dzurinda and his political parties."

Meseznikov, IVO's president, refuted Fico's accusations concerning political affiliation and underlined that none of the authors of the summary report belong to any political party. He also said that there are supporters of various political orientations among the authors - conservatives, liberals, social democrats and Greens - including people who are all-out leftists. "There are university professors, doctors, doctors of philosophy, associate professors and also members of the Academy of Sciences," said Meseznikov.

He explained the critical tone of the report by saying that the authors consider liberal democracy to be the best political system. "We can't overlook steps which are in contradiction with this approach ... when the civil society is being nationalised and weakened," SLOVAKIA was told by Meseznikov on Wednesday.

Bratislava, February 20 (TASR-SLOVAKIA)

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