People’s Platform: Government shouldn't rush Constitutional Court bill

The three opposition parties grouped in the People's Platform, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Most-Híd, have called on the government not to push through an amendment to the law on the organisation of the Constitutional Court in fast-tracked legislative proceedings in parliament, the TASR newswire learned on Monday, April 29.

The three opposition parties grouped in the People's Platform, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Most-Híd, have called on the government not to push through an amendment to the law on the organisation of the Constitutional Court in fast-tracked legislative proceedings in parliament, the TASR newswire learned on Monday, April 29.

"No proposal for fast-tracked proceedings has been hatched as yet, but ... we're calling on the government not to resort to this measure," said SDKÚ caucus head Lucia Žitňanská at a joint press conference, referring to a suddenly summoned special session of parliament due to be held on Tuesday that is set to debate three legislative proposals recently vetoed by President Ivan Gašparovič. She went on to explain that Parliamentary Speaker Pavol Paška sent out invitations for an extraordinary parliamentary session on Sunday. She added that it is not necessary to debate the three bills in question, as they are slated to come into effect on July 2013 at the earliest, while the next regular parliamentary session is due to take place on May 14.

The opposition parties fear that the government may want to add the amendment to the law on the organisation of the Constitutional Court (already approved by the government on April 24) to the agenda and have it debated and most probably approved via fast-track proceedings. The amendment aims to resolve the stalemate in the Constitutional Court regarding the 'complaint war' between President Ivan Gašparovič and general-prosecutor-elect Jozef Čentéš linked to the president's decision not to appoint the latter to the post in January 2013. As a result of numerous complaints from both sides against the bias of individual Constitutional Court judges ruling on the matter of Čentéš's complaint against the president, there are not enough judges left to deal with the issue. The amendment should basically allow judges at one time ruled out due to such complaints to deal with the matter if a deadlock occurs.

The Sme daily wrote in its Tuesday issue that this would effectively mean that the complaint by Čentéš would be dealt with at the Constitutional Court by a panel close to Gašparovič. If the Constitutional Court refused the complaint, the ruling Smer party would have the opportunity to select its own candidate for the prosecutor general position. Žitňanská said that if this happened, they would file another complaint.

"This would represent political interference on the part of the government and parliament in the ongoing court proceedings concerning Čentéš's complaint," she said. "It would change the rules of the game in a retroactive manner," she asserted.

Monday's statement of the opposition serves as evidence that it finds the current state of the GP Office and Constitutional Court convenient, Prime Minister Robert Fico said in reaction. He opined that the opposition refuses to discuss the technical side of the issue. "However, seeing as there was a certain new development – including the stance of the opposition – the government will consider other steps at the session Tuesday," said Fico as quoted by TASR, refusing to specify any further details.

(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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