In a major change of position by the Slovak government, Prime Minister Robert Fico told journalists on May 21 that Jozef Čentéš, who was elected by the previous parliament in June 2011 to be the country’s general prosecutor, is no longer the “candidate” for the post – and that were never any obstacles to the current parliament electing a new general prosecutor. He added that the media were mistaken in describing Čentéš as the legally elected “candidate”, the SITA newswire reported.
“There are no legal obstructions to the election of general prosecutor,” Fico said, as quoted by SITA. “There is no obstacle, and basically there has never been.”
Fico added that since his government was formed it had been free to arrange a new vote, but it wanted to respect the proposals and objections submitted by various parties.
“If it will continue like this, there will never be a general prosecutor,” Fico, leader of the ruling Smer party, added.
The only remaining obstacle to Čentéš taking up office is President Ivan Gašparovič’s refusal to formally appoint him. In October 2011 the Constitutional Court ruled that Čentéš had been legally elected.
Fico said the government wants to resolve what he referred to as “the situation at the Office of the General Prosecutor” as soon as possible. He described the current management as “improvised”, adding that the new general prosecutor will decide what the management of the institution would look like, SITA wrote.
After more than 18 months of inaction, President Gašparovič formally refused to appoint Čentéš at the end of last year. In a nine-page explanation which he sent to the speaker of parliament he cited comments by various politicians regarding the process of Čentéš’ election that had been reported in the media. The rejection prompted an appeal by Čentéš to the Constitutional Court, which is currently deadlocked after Čentéš and Gašparovič between them lodged objections to 12 of the 13 constitutional justices.
On May 20, according to local media reports, Gašparovič signed into law changes, passed by the Smer-dominated parliament, to the Constitutional Court’s rules of procedure which should allow justices previously judged to be biased against Čentéš to rule on his appeal.
The opposition has meanwhile filed a motion against the law, saying it is an unjustifiable interference by the executive in an ongoing proceeding at the court, SITA wrote on May 21.
For more information about this story please see: Gašparovič signs into law changes to Constitutional Court rules that will directly affect his own case
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
22. May 2013 at 10:00