The man from Smer, he says "yes"

By bne IntelliNews October 13, 2011

bne -

As expected, Slovakia's main political parties announced on Wednesday, October 12 that they have reached a deal to approve the Eurozone's enhanced bailout fund, pledging to pass the motion by the end of the week.

Markets spent the previous day on tenterhooks ahead of the vote on the the expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), with the debate going on late into the night in Bratislava, but had no such qualms once Slovakia's political parties had finished using the economic fate of the entire 27-member bloc as a pawn in domestic politics.

With Prime Minister Iveta Radicova's government falling on its sword on as it gambled on the vote by attaching a motion of confidence in the cabinet, it was clear that the opposition would now reverse its position and play ball. Bourses across the continent and in the US opened in sprightly fashion, their confidence rewarded by an announcement from the leader of the main opposition that the EU plan would be approved by Friday, October 14.

Robert Fico, head of Smer-Social Democracy, said that in exchange for his party's votes, the three outgoing government party leaders that backed approval have agreed to hold early general elections on March 10. "Slovakia will ratify the EU bailout fund without any problems. I believe it will happen on Friday this week at the latest," said Fico, reported AP.

With the government now defunct and early elections promised, Fico said his party will now perform an about-face and vote in favour of the bailout fund. Slovakia was the last member of the Eurozone to put the issue to its parliament, all 16 others having already approved the move, and the country will hold a second count of hands on October 14.

Radicova's government fell as it attempted to force junior coalition member Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) to commit its 22 MPs to support the vote with the threat of the confidence motion. SaS carried out its threat to abstain however, and Fico's Smer sank its teeth into the proffered throat to defeat the bill by 21 votes.

That shortfall will easily be made up once Smer falls into line, prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to announce that she is "certain" Slovakia will approve the package before EU leaders meet to finalise the EFSF on October 23.

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