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Constitutional amendment stuck

THE RULING Smer party and the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), which have teamed up for a joint constitutional amendment which would introduce several major changes to the justice system and simultaneously define marriage as a bond between a man and a woman, have slowed in their efforts to pass their draft.

THE RULING Smer party and the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), which have teamed up for a joint constitutional amendment which would introduce several major changes to the justice system and simultaneously define marriage as a bond between a man and a woman, have slowed in their efforts to pass their draft.

On April 15, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška convened a meeting of parliamentary caucuses and judiciary representatives to discuss the amendment, but nothing concrete has been decided yet. The next session is planned for April 25, the Sme daily reported.

The revision includes, among other things, a proposal to separate the post of the head of the Judicial Council and the Supreme Court president, both currently held by Štefan Harabin, who recently agreed to run for re-election.

Among the judiciary reforms, changes include stripping the president of his power to select members of the Judicial Council, increasing the number of council members elected and dismissed by parliament and the government, and decreasing the number of council members from 18 to 16. Moreover, judges will be stripped of their criminal immunity, although they still cannot be prosecuted for their rulings.

Smer is insisting on its proposal to remove the president’s right to appoint three members of the 18-member Judicial Council, according to opposition representatives after the April 15 meeting. The opposition is also unhappy with Smer and the KDH’s joint legislative proposal that introduces across-the-board security screenings for judges, the TASR newswire wrote.

KDH MP and failed presidential candidate Pavol Hrušovský stated that his party is open to a dialogue on the matter. He declined to reveal whether the KDH prefers weakening the president’s position or maintaining it, however. He said that the initiative to weaken the president’s powers came from Smer, as cited by TASR.

However, Smer MP Róbert Madej claims that it was the KDH’s idea, which emerged before the presidential elections, when nobody knew who the next president would be.

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