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Via Iuris opposes re-introduction of secret ballot for Judicial Council

THE VIA Iuris judiciary transparency NGO is calling upon legislators, especially those of the ruling Smer party and the opposition Christian Democrats (KDH) who are joining forces to pass constitutional amendments on the judiciary and the status of family, not to pass a proposal designed to re-introduce a secret ballot for Judicial Council votes on personnel issues, Milan Šagát of Via Iuris told the TASR newswire.

THE VIA Iuris judiciary transparency NGO is calling upon legislators, especially those of the ruling Smer party and the opposition Christian Democrats (KDH) who are joining forces to pass constitutional amendments on the judiciary and the status of family, not to pass a proposal designed to re-introduce a secret ballot for Judicial Council votes on personnel issues, Milan Šagát of Via Iuris told the TASR newswire.

"If this amending proposal were passed by parliament, then if Štefan Harabin, for example, was re-elected as the Supreme Court chair, the public would have no way of knowing which specific Judicial Council members voted him in," Via Iuris claims, as quoted by TASR.

The motion to re-introduce a secret ballot for the election or dismissal of judges, Supreme Court chairs and vice-chairs, Judicial Council chair and vice-chairs and members of disciplinary committees was tabled by Smer MP Antonín Cicoň. The parliamentary Constitutional Committee has already recommended that lawmakers pass the legislation.

Open voting was ushered in by former justice minister Lucia Žitňanská (2006 and 2010-12). Smer intends to re-introduce the previous status quo, citing the European Court of Human Rights legal system that predicates the free course of an election - aimed to prevent any pressure on voters - on secret balloting.

Such a line of argumentation is rejected as misleading by Via Iuris.

"There's absolutely no right concerning Judicial Council members having secret balloting embedded either in the Agreement on Human Rights or the Slovak Constitution,” the organisation claims, as quoted by TASR. “The Agreement and Constitution introduce only the right to secret balloting during a general election – for citizens.”

Source: TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
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