THE NEW chair of the Judicial Council could be selected by the president from two candidates recommended by the Constitutional Court president, reads a proposal unveiled by Justice Minister Tomáš Borec after meeting Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška and representatives of judiciary on February 18. The procedure involving the selection of the Supreme Court president will go unchanged.

The proposal is part of a package of changes to judiciary presented by Borec and Prime Minister Robert Fico in January. Critics however say that the promise to change the state of judiciary in only part of Fico’s presidential campaign, the TASR newswire wrote.

At the moment, one person holds both the post of the Judicial Council chair and the president of the Supreme Court. It works in a way that the person winning the vote held by the Judicial Council members becomes the Supreme Court president and, automatically, the chair of the council. The posts are currently occupied by Štefan Harabin.

After the meeting, Paška said that similar negotiations will be held also with lawmakers.

“Based on today’s meeting, I want to approach the leaders of the opposition caucuses to organise a meeting; if possible, as early as this week, raising not only the professional, but also the political and constitutional aspects of the issue,” Paška said, as quoted by TASR.

A three-fifths majority is required to usher in the constitutional changes, thus support from the political opposition is necessary.

Independent MP and former justice minister Lucia Žitňanská considers the presented changes part of Fico’s presidential campaign. She said that the deadline for submitting laws for the next parliamentary session expires in a week and a half – not long enough, especially when some of Borec’s proposals require constitutional changes. Žitňanská calls it “irresponsible” and out of place to even consider a constitutional amendment in the midst of dialogue that is bereft of expert input, TASR wrote.

The planned changes only represent an effort to boost president’s powers, analyst Ján Baránek told TASR. According to him, Fico wants to present himself as someone who can tidy up the judiciary.

“Fico has engineered it in a very smart way,” Baránek said, as quoted by TASR. “When they will tell him that he wants to boost the president’s powers, he can point to his previous statements concerning his efforts to bring some order [to the judiciary].”

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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