Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Parliament fails again to elect new President

On March 5, Parliament failed again to elect a successor to former president Michal Kováč, ensuring a continuation of the country's deepening political crisis.
As widely expected, the first ballot of the second round ended in deadlock as neither of the two candidates, Ladislav Ballek nominated by the opposition Party of the Democratic Left (SDĽ), and Milan Fogaš nominated by an independent deputy Miroslav Kočnár, obtained the three-fifths majority required to produce a winner. Ballek obtained the support of 49 deputies, while Fogaš was only endorsed by five.

On March 5, Parliament failed again to elect a successor to former president Michal Kováč, ensuring a continuation of the country's deepening political crisis.

As widely expected, the first ballot of the second round ended in deadlock as neither of the two candidates, Ladislav Ballek nominated by the opposition Party of the Democratic Left (SDĽ), and Milan Fogaš nominated by an independent deputy Miroslav Kočnár, obtained the three-fifths majority required to produce a winner. Ballek obtained the support of 49 deputies, while Fogaš was only endorsed by five.

"A three-fifths majority of all deputies is required to elect a president, and as none of the candidates gained this number, Parliament has not elected a Slovak president," Gašparovič told the assembly.

There is no provision in the constitution to break the deadlock and an unlimited number of new votes could take place.

Slovakia has been without a president since March 2 when Kováč stepped down, handing some of his powers over to Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar. Mečiar now has the right to represent Slovakia abroad and grant amnesties, but no one is empowered to sign laws into effect or appoint or recall ministers, which places the country effectively in a state of constitutional crisis.

Parliament, split asunder between coalition and opposition, will have its next chance to resolve the crisis on March 19, the day set by Parliamentary Speaker Ivan Gašparovič to stage a repeat vote in the second round. The same candidates will stand again.

Two days before the Parliamentary vote, Mečiar cancelled a referendum which asked citizens whether they wished to directly elect the next country's president. The public vote is seen by both the opposition and Kováč, who called it for April 19, as a way out of the impasse.

"[Mečiar's] Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) is blocking the presidential elections in parliament," said Ivan Šimko, a leading member of the opposition Slovak Democratic Coalition. "I call on all citizens to take the vote into their hands and support actions leading to direct presidential elections."

But Augustín Marián Húska, HZDS Vice-Chairman, accused the opposition of inflaming the atmosphere over the elections. "You are desperately trying to poison the atmosphere about presidential elections," he said.

Top stories

12 places where you can see the works of one of the best medieval wood carvers Photo

The works of the renowned Master Paul are not limited just to Levoča.

St Geirge Curch in Spišská Sobota

Heatwaves to continue in Slovakia over the following days

More than 40 people collapsed due to hot weather on Thursday.

Jourová: Fico not fully informed on all EC’s activities on double standards

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will meet with Fico to discuss double quality standards of foods on July 27 in Brussels.

European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová

Foreigners: Events in Bratislava Video

Tips for performances and other events in the capital between July 21 and July 30, including concerts, parties, festivals, classical music, inline skating, exhibitions and more.