President Ivan Gašparovič will not appoint Jozef Čentéš as Slovakia’s general prosecutor, though the Constitutional Court has recently confirmed the legitimacy of the ballot that took place in June 2011 at which he was elected to the post. Gašparovič has already sent a letter explaining his decision to the speaker of the parliament, Pavol Paška, the TASR newswire reported on January 2.
The term of the last general prosecutor, Dobroslav Trnka, expired in February 2011. Though Čentéš finally won the battle over the post, Gašparovič has since refused to appoint him. Trnka’s former deputy, Ladislav Tichý, is currently the acting general prosecutor, with Trnka, who was one of the candidates competing with Čentéš for the top job, now working as Tichý’s unelected deputy.
In the letter Gašparovič recapitulated all four rounds of the election of new general prosecutor, as well as several doubts that accompanied the ballots, including the dubious behaviour of several then opposition deputies who were taking pictures of the ballots, or the dubious text messages about the election of GP exchanged between the chair of the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) Richard Sulík and business tycoon Marián Kočner.
The recapitulation, according to the president, “illustrates enough that, as said then prime minister Iveta Radičová, from the beginning to the end it was a farce, a fight and battle for the relation between the economic groupings and economic groupings, the fight between the state of law and economic interests, marked by the suspicions from corruption of deputies (…) as well as crude pressure on deputies from the side of [then] coalition parties as well as from the side of politicians who are not MPs, including the PM”, reads the letter.
“A candidate elected under these circumstances is untrustworthy, regardless the person, already in a way how the election took place,” reads the letter, as cited by TASR.
While the parliament responded that its next moves will comply with the Slovak constitution and that there will be a new vote, Čentéš said he will soon file a complaint regarding the president’s decision.
“(…) The reasons of refusal of my appointment, in my opinion, do not fulfil the criteria set in the ruling of the plenary of the Constitutional Court of Slovakia in Košice from the end of last October,” Čentéš told TASR. “Based on this ruling the president can refuse my appointment to the post of general prosecutor only from the reasons which have to relate to me, but not the way of vote. The reasons have to be serious enough to doubt my ability to serve as the general prosecutor of Slovakia. These reasons mustn’t be arbitrary.”
Čentéš added that Gašparovič has fulfilled neither of these requirements, TASR wrote.
Also, the opposition deputies critically responded to the statement of the president not to appoint Čentéš. Igor Matovič, chair of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) said that with such a decision, Gašparovič reserved the post to the nominee of ruling Smer party. Moreover, the president only confirmed he feels like a member of Smer.
“I fully understand, regarding the fact I had the opportunity to get to know doctor Čentéš as honest and good person, that such general prosecutor will not follow the hand of Smer, and therefore would be dangerous for Smer,” Matovič told the SITA newswire, adding his party will support the potential complaint filed by Čentéš.
MPs for SaS also criticised the decision. Head of the party’s census, Martin Poliačik said that the president only confirmed he is “a puppet in the hands of the ruling party”, SITA reported. He added that if the president acted like this also in previous elections, many of the people would not have been appointed. He stressed that the fact whether Čentéš fulfils the conditions to be appointed, was confirmed by the ruling of the Constitutional Court, SITA wrote.
Source: TASR, SITA
For more information about this story please see: Troubled prosecution
Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports
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