Former prime minister Robert Fico, who leads the largest opposition party, Smer, told parliament on Tuesday, March 22, that if his party returns to government after the next general election, it will not recognise a general prosecutor who has been elected by MPs in a public vote.
He was speaking during a debate on an amendment to the Act on Prosecuting Authorities that had been submitted by Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ)). Fico said that his party would “never respect degradation of the prosecuting authorities and their subordination to the Justice Ministry”. He also alleged that Žitňanská is doing nothing but trying to achieve her political goal, which he said was to bring the prosecuting authorities and courts under the political control of the current governing coalition.
"It's nothing but a Normalisation,” Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “When it looks like Normalisation, when it walks like Normalisation, when it speaks like Normalisation, then it is Normalisation," he said, referring to the period of Communist Party repression following the Prague Spring of 1968.
Speaking in response, Žitňanská said that his words only prove that the coalition has apparently hit the nail on the head. The minister stressed that she feels she has a strong public mandate to carry out essential changes to the justice system, so that people feel they can trust it.
Among other things, the amendment will make selection of the general prosecutor, who is generally regarded as apolitical and serves for a seven-year term, subject to a public vote in parliament. A series of secret parliamentary votes late last year failed to select a new general prosecutor, partly because several coalition MPs chose to vote against the coalition’s agreed candidate. The renegade MPs remained anonymous, and the government has since moved to make selection votes public.
The current acting head of the General Prosecutor's Office, Ladislav Tichý, told parliament on Tuesday that if the amendment to the Act on Prosecuting Authorities is passed by MPs in the form currently proposed he will challenge it in the Slovak Constitutional Court.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
23. Mar 2011 at 10:00