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Opposition fails to impeach president

THE SMER-controlled parliament did not approve the opposition’s proposal to file a constitutional lawsuit against President Ivan Gašparovič for what the opposition described as his deliberate violation of the constitution by refusing to appoint general-prosecutor-elect Jozef Čentéš, at an extraordinary parliamentary session held on March 12.

THE SMER-controlled parliament did not approve the opposition’s proposal to file a constitutional lawsuit against President Ivan Gašparovič for what the opposition described as his deliberate violation of the constitution by refusing to appoint general-prosecutor-elect Jozef Čentéš, at an extraordinary parliamentary session held on March 12.

The opposition’s proposal was backed by only 45 MPs in a secret ballot; a constitutional majority (90 votes) was needed. 78 lawmakers voted against launching the impeachment process, while five MPs abstained, the TASR newswire reported.

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 more than 18 months – that he would not appoint Čentéš.

Čentéš was elected by parliament in June 2011, during the government of Iveta Radičová. Gašparovič, in early January 2013, told Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška that he would not appoint Čentéš, claiming that the election in June 2011 was politicised. Apart from this, Gašparovič reproached Čentéš for discarding testimony provided by Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) MP Igor Matovič concerning alleged attempts at bribery. Čentéš later claimed that the testimony was discarded by mistake, and Matovič redelivered it. The opposition said that the reasons Gašparovič offered for not appointing Čentéš were hollow.

Paška expressed satisfaction that what he called the “undignified theatre” of the opposition’s attempt to impeach Gašparovič had been stymied.

Co-author of the motion, Martin Poliačik from the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, expressed surprise that neither Gašparovič nor any Smer MPs appeared in parliament when the issue was debated.

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