President Ivan Gašparovič has appointed Jaromír Čižnár, a former law-school classmate of Prime Minister Robert Fico, as Slovakia’s general prosecutor, the TASR newswire reported. The president’s office did not formally inform the media about the appointment in advance.
After a political and judicial tug-of-war lasting more than two years over one of the most powerful posts in the country, Čižnár was elected by ruling Smer party MPs on June 18. None of the opposition parties took part in the secret-ballot parliamentary vote, arguing that the country already has a general prosecutor-elect – Jozef Čentéš – who was elected by parliament in June 2011 but was never officially appointed by Gašparovič.
A complaint lodged by Čentéš against the president’s refusal to appoint him is pending at the Constitutional Court, with Čižnár saying that he will step down to make way for Čentéš only if the court rules that Čižnár violated Čentéš’ civil rights by seeking election.
Sixty opposition deputies called on Gašparovič on June 20 to refrain from appointing Čižnár until the Constitutional Court decides on Čentéš’ complaint. The deputies argued that appointing Čižnár might have a long-term negative impact on the stability of Slovakia’s legal system.
“It is irrelevant what happens in the future,” Prime Minister Robert Fico responded on June 19 to media questions about whether his government is prepared for the possibility of the Constitutional Court ruling in Čentéš’ favour, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that Čižnár is the legitimately and democratically-elected candidate.
Of the 82 deputies present on June 18 – all of them members of Smer – every single one voted for Čižnár. According to Fico, Čižnár will serve in the post for the next seven years, the Sme daily reported.
Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.