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Impeachment hearing postponed

A SPECIAL parliamentary session at which MPs were supposed to discuss a proposal to impeach President Ivan Gašparovič for alleged violation of the constitution, prompted by his refusal to appoint Jozef Čentéš, parliament’s choice as general prosecutor, has been postponed until March 12. Lucia Žitňanská, an MP for the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), asked for the postponement after deputies of the ruling Smer party walked out en masse from the original hearing shortly after it began on February 14, the SITA newswire reported.

A SPECIAL parliamentary session at which MPs were supposed to discuss a proposal to impeach President Ivan Gašparovič for alleged violation of the constitution, prompted by his refusal to appoint Jozef Čentéš, parliament’s choice as general prosecutor, has been postponed until March 12. Lucia Žitňanská, an MP for the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), asked for the postponement after deputies of the ruling Smer party walked out en masse from the original hearing shortly after it began on February 14, the SITA newswire reported.

The parliamentary session was opened by Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška who gave an impromptu speech which blocked the opposition’s proposer from even tabling the motion to impeach the president.

According to parliamentary rules, the chairman of parliament can choose to speak at any time he wishes.

“I will summarise in a very simple political message: this should not have happened,” Paška said in reference to the attempted impeachment, as quoted by SITA. “It is an interference in a short-lived and fragile democratic system.”

Paška claimed that Čentéš, who was elected by parliament in June 2011, is a politically manipulated and illegitimately elected candidate. He called on the general prosecutor-elect, who is appealing the president’s decision not to appoint via a case before the Constitutional Court, to allow parliament to summon a new election “over which there will be no doubt”.

During the discussion in parliament, KDH chair Ján Figeľ who led the special session, said that the lawsuit was, in fact, legitimate since the president had interfered in an unprecedented way in the relationship between the legislative and executive branches, SITA wrote.

Earlier in the week the parliamentary constitutional committee did not back a resolution that would have recommended the house launch an impeachment process against Gašparovič, the TASR newswire reported on February 11.

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