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Attempt to impeach president fails in parliament

Parliament will not file a constitutional lawsuit against President Ivan Gašparovič for what the opposition describes as his deliberate violation of the constitution in refusing to appoint Jozef Čentés to the post of general prosecutor. The opposition proposal was backed by only 45 MPs in a secret ballot on March 12, with 78 deputies voting against and five MPs abstaining, the TASR newswire reported.

Parliament will not file a constitutional lawsuit against President Ivan Gašparovič for what the opposition describes as his deliberate violation of the constitution in refusing to appoint Jozef Čentés to the post of general prosecutor. The opposition proposal was backed by only 45 MPs in a secret ballot on March 12, with 78 deputies voting against and five MPs abstaining, the TASR newswire reported.

For the impeachment process to proceed it would have needed a constitutional majority, i.e. 90 votes.

Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška expressed satisfaction that what he called the ‘undignified theatre’ of the opposition’s attempt to impeach Gašparovič had been stymied. He said that the fact the motion had been supported by only 45 MPs meant that even the opposition was not united over the issue, TASR wrote.

Co-author of the motion, Martin Poliačik from the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, said that the motion was supported by more MPs in the actual vote than in the written proposal since “the lawsuit was signed by 46 people, of which three had excused absences [from the secret vote], and we have 45 votes”.

Poliačik expressed surprise that neither Gašparovič nor any Smer MPs appeared in the parliament when the issue was debated.

“An impeachment process against president is not an everyday issue ... In my opinion, it would have been appropriate to take part in it, regardless of one’s political views,” Poliačik added.

Čentéš was elected by MPs in June 2011. Gašparovič in January 2013 informed Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška that he would not appoint Čentéš, claiming that the June 2011 vote had been politicised. Gašparovič also reproached Čentéš for destroying testimony provided by MP Igor Matovič concerning alleged bribery. Čentéš stated that the testimony had been destroyed by mistake, and that Matovič had resubmitted it. Matovič verified this account. The opposition said that Gašparovič’s reasons for not appointing Čentéš were hollow.

The authors of the motion against Gašparovič claimed that the president failed to ensure the normal functioning of constitutional bodies by unduly delaying the appointment, and eventually declaring, after 18 months, that he would not appoint Čentéš at all, TASR wrote.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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