Judicial Council praises president's veto, Žitňanská confident MPs will override it

Slovakia's Judicial Council welcomes President Ivan Gašparovič's decision on December 23 to veto an amendment to the Judges and Judicial Assistants Act as approved in Parliament recently, the Office of the Judicial Council told the TASR mewswire on Monday, December 27. According to the Council, the president's move was an act of statesmanship. Despite media pressure, the president refused to tolerate the politicising of the judiciary. "MPs ought to consider expert objections thoroughly and realise that the amendment does away with reforms in the judiciary that were adopted when Slovakia joined the European Union," said the Council's chairman Štefan Harabin, who also happens to chair the Supreme Court.

Slovakia's Judicial Council welcomes President Ivan Gašparovič's decision on December 23 to veto an amendment to the Judges and Judicial Assistants Act as approved in Parliament recently, the Office of the Judicial Council told the TASR mewswire on Monday, December 27. According to the Council, the president's move was an act of statesmanship. Despite media pressure, the president refused to tolerate the politicising of the judiciary.

"MPs ought to consider expert objections thoroughly and realise that the amendment does away with reforms in the judiciary that were adopted when Slovakia joined the European Union," said the Council's chairman Štefan Harabin, who also happens to chair the Supreme Court.

Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-SDKÚ) expressed her conviction on Monday that lawmakers are aware of the significance of changes included in an amendment to the Judges and Judicial Assistants Act; meaning that they will re-approve the bill after it was vetoed by President Gašparovič on December 23, the TASR newswire learnt. "Understandably, I regret that despite claiming that he cares about changing the situation in the judiciary, the president has returned the law to Parliament and hasn't backed opening up the judiciary to public scrutiny," said the minister. The legislation introduces, inter alia, selection procedures for the post of judge. In addition, a judge's transfer to a higher-ranking court should no longer be pre-conditioned by his or her age, but by years of experience, wrote TASR.

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