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Recall initiative against Slovak Justice Minister fails

Justice Minister and government vice-chair Viera Petríková (a nominee of the Movement for Democratic Slovakia, HZDS) will retain her post after the opposition's no-confidence motion in her in parliament on Thursday, October 15 failed, the TASR newswire reported.

Justice Minister and government vice-chair Viera Petríková (a nominee of the Movement for Democratic Slovakia, HZDS) will retain her post after the opposition's no-confidence motion in her in parliament on Thursday, October 15 failed, the TASR newswire reported.

Only 53 legislators voted for Petríková's ouster and 76 votes are required. The remaining 52 MPs out a total of 105 legislators present in the Slovak Parliament rejected the proposal for Petríková's dismissal.

"It's never happened that more MPs voted in favour of a dismissal proposal than against it," said ethnic-Hungarian SMK party chairman Pál Csáky to TASR.

He added that it appears that the governing coalition is plagued by some internal disputes and those conflicts were obvious in the voting. In the parliamentary debate, opposition parties pointed to what they call a poor state of the judiciary. By contrast, coalition MPs branded the efforts to oust Petríková after a mere three months that she's been in office as inappropriate.

The no-confidence vote was debated at a special session that was called by Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška after Opposition MPs Lucia Žitňanská (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union, SDKÚ), Daniel Lipšic (Christian-Democratic Movement, KDH) and Gyula Bárdos (ethnic Hungarian SMK) handed in the signatures of 48 legislators backing the move.

The opposition accuses Petríková of holding disciplinary proceedings against a district court judge Jana Dubovcova for her remarks criticising the then-Justice Minister Štefan Harabin and the state of judiciary. They claim that this was an attempt to intimidate judges whose opinions on the judiciary diverge from those of the Justice Ministry and the government. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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