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Debate over constitutional changes begins

SPEAKER of Parliament Pavol Paška opened debate over proposed constitutional changes, including a definition of marriage and plans to reform the judiciary, on March 20.

SPEAKER of Parliament Pavol Paška opened debate over proposed constitutional changes, including a definition of marriage and plans to reform the judiciary, on March 20.

The items under discussion was prepared by the ruling Smer party and the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), and has received much criticism. It is expected that the discussion will last several hours as there have been at least 15 MPs who want to comment.

“The proposal is a result of a broad political dialogue involving [Prime Minister] Robert Fico and [KDH chairman] Ján Figeľ,” Paška said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

The parties propose, among other things, to split the posts of the Supreme Court president and the Judicial Council chair (currently both are held by the same person, Štefan Harabin), and to scrap immunity from prosecution applying to all judges. Regarding the marriage, the bill proposes to apply a definition of marriage as “a unique definition of one man and one woman”.

Independent MP Daniel Lipšic said during his speech that the proposed constitutional changes are merely part of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s presidential campaign. According to him, Smer and Fico are doing everything to secure the victory of their leader in the March 29 second round run-off, as reported by TASR. This includes an attempt to appeal to social conservatives by including the marriage definition, and also gaining KDH support for the judicial package.

“KDH has lost the will to fight against the absolute concentration of power by a single party, and out of desperation and due to the loss of self-identity it is decided to enter into a union with the devil,” Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP Martin Poliačik said, as quoted by TASR.

Poliačik also questioned the intention to purge the judiciary and said he disagrees with the constitutional definition of marriage as proposed by KDH. According to him, it sends a signal to people living in other relationships that they are inferior. He does not consider KDH’s proposal to be pro-family, either. Families are at risk for other reasons, such as bad financial situations, which could be addressed differently, he said.

Prior to the debate, the parliamentary committee for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) people, which on March 19 adopted a declaration on the proposed change, expressing that the proposal to change the constitution is likely aimed at preventing any legislative arrangement recognising same-sex relationships, as reported by TASR.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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