WHILE the position of the ruling coalition parties – and in particular the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) – on who should be the next general prosecutor has been characterised by disunity and a fair degree of confusion, the attitude of political ethics watchdog Fair-Play Alliance has been clear: the incumbent, Dobroslav Trnka, should be replaced.
In a country with widespread violation of laws, abuse of power and theft of public funds it should be in the utmost interest of the state to thoroughly punish crimes, and the prosecutor should represent this interest, says the Fair-Play Alliance in its petition ‘Replace Trnka – do not protect the untouchables’.
“As long as there remains a group of untouchable and unpunished [people], hundreds of millions will disappear from the state budget, and citizens will not be certain that laws and justice rule Slovakia,” the alliance said. “The prosecutor’s office under the leadership of Dobroslav Trnka does not meet these expectations and in our opinion it has failed in this mission.”
The ethics watchdog wrote to every MP and asked them to declare publicly who they were voting for.
“If we do not speak up now, we will be doomed to look on helplessly for the next seven years,” said the Fair-Play Alliance in its letter.
Over 1,300 people had joined its appeal by November 4, as parliamentary deputies pondered their choice for general prosecutor. Originally, Trnka, whose current seven-year term will elapse at the end of January next year, had two challengers: prosecutor Mária Mišíková, supported by the ruling coalition’s Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and Most-Híd; and special prosecutor Ján Hrivnák, backed by the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ).
Hrivnák was eliminated in an initial vote on November 3, and Mišíková and Trnka advanced to a run-off on November 4. However, that vote failed to produce an outright winner and all three nominees will be up for selection again at another vote in late November or early December.
“We are calling on political parties and parliamentary deputies to stop playing power and
interest games and through the selection of the prosecutor secure a trustworthy person who will be able to guarantee a professional approach, principled attitude and strict prosecution of crimes regardless of party colours, size of bank account, or acquaintances,” said the NGO.
Among those who have supported the initiative are journalists, musicians, physicians, third-sector activists and a priest. The Open Society Foundation in Slovakia also joined the initiative, the SITA newswire wrote.
Trnka was selected for the post in 2003. He is the country's fifth attorney general since the fall of communism in 1989. Before his election, he served as chief military prosecutor.
8. Nov 2010 at 0:00 | By Beata Balogová with press reports