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Gašparovič: I won't succumb to political pressure in Čentéš case

Following a meeting on the current state of the Slovak justice system with representatives of the People's Platform (comprising three centre-right opposition parties) on Monday, December 17, President Ivan Gašparovič said that he would not succumb what he called "political pressure" from the government or from the opposition in relation to his long-delayed appointment of a new general prosecutor, the TASR newswire learnt.

Following a meeting on the current state of the Slovak justice system with representatives of the People's Platform (comprising three centre-right opposition parties) on Monday, December 17, President Ivan Gašparovič said that he would not succumb what he called "political pressure" from the government or from the opposition in relation to his long-delayed appointment of a new general prosecutor, the TASR newswire learnt.

"I won't accept any pressure; I'll decide on my own ... in compliance with the constitution and in order to [ensure the appropriate] management of ... the General Prosecutor's Office," stressed Gašparovič. He added that he would probably not wait for the verdict of the Constitutional Court concerning an appeal filed by general-prosecutor-elect Jozef Čentéš in which the latter accuses the president of inactivity vis-a-vis his appointment.

Gašparovič asserted that the process of appointment has now been stalled further due to another appeal by Čentéš involving alleged bias on the part of some of the court's judges currently hearing the case. "I found out today that the court has accepted this appeal and will most probably change members of the [respective] senate," said the president, adding that it might take months for a new senate to familiarise itself with the case. However, he did not provide any specific date by which he would decide on Čentéš's appointment. Čentéš was elected by MPs in June 2011. The Constitutional Court ruled earlier this year, in response to a motion filed by Smer MPs that alleged shortcomings in the process used, that his election was entirely legal.

At his meeting with the leaders of the parties grouped in the People's Platform – Pavol Frešo of the SDKÚ, Ján Figeľ of the KDH and Béla Bugár of Most-Híd – the president told the lawmakers, whose parties were in government until March this year, that they were partly responsible for the current state of affairs at the General Prosecutor's Office, which has been without a properly appointed head for almost two years. Gašparovič said that MPs had known for a long time that the tenure of the former post-holder, Dobroslav Trnka, would expire in February 2011 but had "failed to do anything" about it.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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