THE FUNCTION of the Supreme Court president and the chair of the Judicial Council, currently held by the same person, should be separate, according to independent MP Lucia Žitňanská.

She also believes that Smer MPs will support her proposal, which would require a constitutional amendment, referring to recent statements by Prime Minister Robert Fico about the state of the country’s judiciary, the TASR newswire reported on January 21.

Without enough votes in parliament, however, Žitňanská’s proposal has no chance of succeeding, as a constitutional amendment needs the backing of at least 90 votes.

“The prime minister, as a presidential candidate, is also losing patience with the judiciary,” Žitňanská said, as quoted by TASR. “So it might be the right time when the deputies of Smer would support such a proposal.”

Žitňanská also noted the upcoming vote for a new Supreme Court president, as the tenure of current president Štefan Harabin will expire this year, arguing that it would be fair to pass the amendment now so the new chair of the Supreme Court already knew which function he or she was going into.

She added that the public also supports separating the two functions. A survey carried out by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) in 2011 showed that 63 percent of Slovaks absolutely agree or somewhat agree with making the functions separate, as reported by TASR.

Žitňanská also plans to get support from the opposition, noting that during the rule of the Iveta Radičová government (2010-12), the whole coalition backed the initiative. The government however had to withdraw the proposal because of a disagreement with Smer.

Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) chairman Ján Figeľ has already said his party will support the proposal, TASR wrote.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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