Ministers on August 10 approved a move to amend the constitution that should separate the position of head of the Supreme Court from that of chairman of the Judicial Council. If the amendment, proposed by Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ)), finds sufficient support in parliament, Štefan Harabin, who currently holds both positions, would lose his chairmanship of the Judicial Council in January 2012.
The ruling coalition does not have the 90 votes necessary to change the constitution, so the amendment’s success will depend on the support of the largest opposition party, Smer. However, the party has signalled that it will oppose the move. In July, Róbert Madej of Smer criticised the policies of Žitňanská, describing them as a personal fight against a single person – a reference to Harabin – while also noting that the current system was introduced in 2001 by a government led by Žitňanská’s own party.
According to the proposal, members of the Judicial Council would elect one of their number as chair by absolute majority, the SITA newswire wrote. The total number of Judicial Council members – 18 – would be preserved. The draft amendment explicitly prohibits the combining of two functions by a single person.
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10. Aug 2011 at 14:00