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MPs break president’s veto and pass Judges Act

As expected, MPs overrode the veto of President Ivan Gašparovič to pass an amendment to the Judges and Judicial Assistants Act for the second time on Tuesday, February 1.

As expected, MPs overrode the veto of President Ivan Gašparovič to pass an amendment to the Judges and Judicial Assistants Act for the second time on Tuesday, February 1.

Eighty MPs voted in favour of the amendment, with opposition Smer MP Igor Federič the only opposition representative to vote with the governing parties in support of the proposal drafted by Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (Slovak Christian and Democratic Union (SDKÚ)). Federič later claimed that he had voted in favour by accident, but his misplaced vote was not significant as the law required only 76 votes to pass.

According to the law, judicial vacancies at all levels of courts will, from May, be filled only via a formal selection process. Applicants will be required to submit a list of their close friends and relatives who work as judges, court employees, justice ministry employees or selection committee members.

All selection procedures will be public, with citizens being allowed full access to all candidates’ applications, including their CVs, covering letters and the minutes from the selection procedures. The power to suspend a judge will no longer be held by the justice minister or the Judicial Council but rather by a disciplinary senate.

Smer opposed the amendment claiming that it is anti-constitutional and designed to politicise the judiciary, but was not able to muster enough votes in parliament to block its passage.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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