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Elections of Bajánková and Švecová to top Slovak judicial body posts get positive response

JUSTICE Minister Tomáš Borec welcomed the decisions of the Judicial Council to elect Daniela Švecová for Supreme Court chairperson and Jana Bajánková as Judicial Council head on September 16.

JUSTICE Minister Tomáš Borec welcomed the decisions of the Judicial Council to elect Daniela Švecová for Supreme Court chairperson and Jana Bajánková as Judicial Council head on September 16.

“I believe that Bajánková meets all the prerequisites to head the highly important office in a dignified manner,” Borec said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “I am also convinced that Švecová also meets all the requirements in regard to chairing the Supreme Court. As far as Švecová is concerned, obviously we need to wait for a decision of Mr President,” said the minister, as the latter still needs to be appointed by President Andrej Kiska.

Ján Figeľ, chair of the opposition Christian-Democratic Movement (KDH), welcomed the election results, calling them a realistic hope for the quality and trustworthiness of the Slovak judiciary, so much needed and expected by citizens and the whole country, he wrote in a press release.

He also added that according to him, the results confirm the constructiveness and rightfulness of the changes brought about by the recent amendment to the Slovak Constitution that split the positions of the Supreme Court chairperson and the Judicial Court chairperson, which were held jointly by one person until recently.

Former justice minister and current Most-Híd MP Lucia Žitňanská opined for TASR that the election of Švecová could contribute to calming the situation in the Supreme Court, adding, however, that she cannot say to what extent this change will be fundamental and whether Švecová will opt for a more polite and refined continuation of the current direction.

From Jana Bajánková, Žitňanská expects a more cultured and refined style of leading the Judicial Council, again refusing to foretell whether this would mean true progress.

The former head of the Supreme Court and the Judicial Council, Štefan Harabin, who failed to be elected in the first vote in May 2014, reacted by saying he does not accept the results of the election, opining that it was made by the Judicial Council which does not exist from the constitutional point of view, as it currently lacks its eighteenth member, which should be nominated by judges. “Even a human being comes of age at eighteen, not seventeen,” he said, as quoted by the Sme daily. He added that he would not contest the vote, but he is sure that failed candidates Daniel Hudák and Ivan Rumana could. Harabin said, however, that he would not recommend his friend Hudák to do so.

“I will certainly not question the vote,” Hudák said on the same day, as quoted by Sme. “The Judicial Council decided just the way it did.”

As for the newly elected chairpersons, Bajánková said before the vote that the trustworthiness of the council has to be increased and the style of communication towards the public, as well as within the council, must be changed. “If I succeed, I will use all the powers offered to the chair of the Judicial Council,” she concluded. She was proposed for the position by council members Milan Ďurica, Imrich Volkai, Ján Slovinský, Eva Fulcová, Ľuboš Sádovský, Jozef Maruščák and vice-chair Ján Vanko.

Švecová received 11 votes from the council’s members in the run-off vote. Bajánková's election came after her bid was supported by 10 votes in the 18-member council. Ján Vanko, Milan Ďurica, Eva Fulcová, Ľuboš Sádovský, Ján Slovinský, Imrich Volkai, Jozef Maruščák, Igor Burger, Alena Šišková, Ján Havlát voted for her, according to Sme; while nobody was against and Ján Klučka, Elena Berthotyová, Rudolf Čirč, Jozef Vozár, Dana Bystrianska, and Peter Straka abstained from the vote.

As for the election of the Supreme Court chair, 11 were for, none against, and four abstained from the vote. However, journalists were sent away from the conference room, allegedly not to disturb the ongoing session, Sme wrote. Thus, they could not find out who voted in which way in the case of the Supreme Court chair.

(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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