NEWS IN SHORT

Ruling over public ballots postponed

THE SLOVAK public will not learn the verdict of the Constitutional Court on the validity of a parliamentary rule change to alter formerly secret votes to publicly recorded votes until Wednesday, October 5, at the earliest. The court has still to decide whether MPs passed the rule change in accordance with constitution, the SITA newswire reported.

THE SLOVAK public will not learn the verdict of the Constitutional Court on the validity of a parliamentary rule change to alter formerly secret votes to publicly recorded votes until Wednesday, October 5, at the earliest. The court has still to decide whether MPs passed the rule change in accordance with constitution, the SITA newswire reported.

The amendment to the parliamentary law allowing a publicly recorded vote to select the general prosecutor and other public officials was passed by deputies at the beginning of April. One of the reasons for the amendment was to prevent a repetition of a situation that occurred last year when at least six coalition deputies voted anonymously for the opposition candidate, incumbent general prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka, who missed out on reselection by only one vote. Trnka’s temporary replacement and former deputy, acting general prosecutor Ladislav Tichý, and 35 opposition MPs addressed a complaint about the amendment to the Constitutional Court at the end of May. Trnka’s permanent replacement, Jozef Čentéš, was ultimately selected via a secret ballot, but President Ivan Gašparovič has so far defied the wishes of parliament and has refused to appoint him.

“It was a purpose-driven amendment which avoided constitutional principles,” opposition Smer MP Róbert Madej said, as quoted by the Sme daily, during a Constitutional Court proceeding that took place on September 28. He added that the ruling coalition passed the measure just to control the vote and get its own candidate selected.

Ján Drgonec, who defended parliament, said that the amendment was passed to allow the public to observe the decisions made by their representatives, including votes to select the general prosecutor.


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