Smer and KDH agree on constitutional changes, face criticism

THOUGH Prime Minister Robert Fico originally said he will seek support for the constitutional changes pertaining to judiciary across the political spectrum, his ruling Smer party closed negotiations over the amendment only with the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH). The amendment will be discussed at the May 28 session, and it is possible it will be passed without the support of other opposition parties, the Sme daily reported.

THOUGH Prime Minister Robert Fico originally said he will seek support for the constitutional changes pertaining to judiciary across the political spectrum, his ruling Smer party closed negotiations over the amendment only with the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH). The amendment will be discussed at the May 28 session, and it is possible it will be passed without the support of other opposition parties, the Sme daily reported.

“We are ready for cooperation with the opposition since these are serious issues,” Fico said, as quoted by Sme, when introducing the amendment in February.

The changes include, among other things, the separation of functions of the Supreme Court president and the Judicial Council chair, which are currently held by one person, or the security clearances for the judges. It should also add new definition of marriage into the constitution, saying that the marriage is a unique bond between a man and a woman.

Smer, however, announced on May 27 that the negotiations are over. Together with the KDH they agreed on immediate implementation of the amendment to the parliament’s programme.

“It is scandalous,” said Lucia Žitňanská of Most-Híd, as quoted by Sme, adding that they obviously try to avoid public discussion.

Žitňanská also said that Smer and KDH have not showed the parliamentary constitutional committee the final agreement over the changes to the constitution. They could only see them shortly before the end of committee’s session.

“If Mrs MP has objections, it is her right,” committee chair Robert Madej (Smer) said, as quoted by Sme.

The parliamentary constitutional committee finally did not pass the amendment as Smer lacked two votes to have majority. No member of the KDH sits in the committee, Sme wrote.

The KDH said that the negotiations over the amendment have lasted several months. Since they made a deal, there is no reason to delay the discussion in parliament, said party’s spokesman Matej Kováč.

The political ethics watchdog Fair-Play Alliance called the way how Smer and KDH discuss the changes non-transparent and arrogant towards the people as well as judges. Both parties discuss the changes at closed sessions, do not publish the texts of the amendment and provide them to their colleagues from other parties in the last minute, and they do not allow any public and expert discussion over the changes, said Zuzana Wienk from the Fair-Play Alliance, as quoted in the press release.

“It is an approach worthy of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin,” Wienk added.

Žitňanská has meanwhile called on the opposition parties, including KDH, not to support the amendment, the TASR newswire wrote.

Source: Sme, TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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