Constitutional Court to review referendum on family

PRESIDENT Andrej Kiska will turn to the Constitutional Court to review the referendum on the so-called protection of family. He received the petition on August 27 containing 400,000 signatures collected by the Alliance for Family (AZR) asking to hold the referendum.

PRESIDENT Andrej Kiska will turn to the Constitutional Court to review the referendum on the so-called protection of family. He received the petition on August 27 containing 400,000 signatures collected by the Alliance for Family (AZR) asking to hold the referendum.

“If there are no justified doubts that the questions [in the referendum] relate to basic rights and freedoms, I will announce the referendum,” Kiska said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

The president added that he considers it his duty to ask the Constitutional Court to review the questions and determine whether they are in compliance with the constitution and whether it is possible to hold the referendum. According to him, the Constitutional Court is the only institution that can decide over this issue, so as to avoid a situation in which people doubt the president’s decision.

Kiska also said that he has intensively scrutinised the questions to determine whether or not they apply to people's basic rights and freedoms.

“In this case the constitution prohibits holding a referendum and the president must not declare it,” Kiska explained, as quoted by SITA. He, however, stressed that the subsequent discussion over the referendum should be held in an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding. “If the referendum will eventually be declared, I will ask people to attend it.”

Kiska, in his words, is not entitled to judge the consequences the referendum will have on society or whether it would be right to change the laws to which the questions in the referendum pertain.

The president added that even people who signed the petition should want the referendum to be in compliance with the constitution and not to have wasted the energy and money they spent on it, as reported by SITA.

According to the Slovak constitution, the president announces that a referendum can be held if at least 350,000 people ask him to do so. He is required to declare it within 30 days after receiving the petition. It also allows the president to turn to the Constitutional Court to decide whether the subject of the referendum is in compliance with the constitution. The referendum cannot pertain to the basic rights and freedoms of people, taxes, payroll taxes and the state budget, SITA wrote.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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