UPDATED: 29.JAN 2021, 14:37

Police Corps have new president

In the past, OĽaNO wanted Peter Kovařík to step down from a governmental post, now their minister appointed him the top police chief.

Peter KovaříkPeter Kovařík (Source: TASR)

Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO) appointed Peter Kovařík as Police Corps president on January 28.

“I believe that this decision will be viewed as not only correct but also as a decision that contributed to our given aim – to increase the trustworthiness of citizens in the Police Corps,” Mikulec said at the press conference.

Kovařík passed thanks to opposition

A parliamentary committee recommended Kovařík as one of two candidates after a public hearing on January 25. The second candidate, Štefan Hamran, chief of the elite Lynx Commando was turned down by the committee.

Kovařík passed on thanks for the votes from the opposition. In the election, he received nine votes, four of which came from the opposition – two from Smer and two from the People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS).

Without their support, Kovařík would have received fewer votes than Hamran, who gained support from six coalition MPs.

“We are in a situation where we do not have time to satisfy all and everyone,” Mikulec noted in reaction to some critical voices which said that Igor Matovič’s government wanted to amend the way in which the election of the Police Corps president takes place.

Who is Kovařík?

Kovařík has acted as temporary Police Corps president since September 2020 after Milan Lučanský stepped down from the position.

Kovařík in the past worked as a police attaché in Washington, as well as director of the Office for the Fight Against Corruption of the police.

Between the years 2017 and 2020, he worked at the Government’s Office, at first as director of the Department of Corruption Prevention and later as managing director of the department of corruption prevention and crisis management. He was also director of the office of the Security Council.

New rules for election to come

When Minister Mikulec first appointed Kovařík the acting police chief following the departure of the now late Milan Lučanský from the post, PM Igor Matovič made it clear he did not have high expectations.

In 2017, the then opposition OĽaNO and SaS parties called on Kovařík to step down from his post at the Government's Office.

The coalition originally planned to amend the rules for the selection of the Police Corps president, but did not manage to push them through in time for the election of the new police chief.

"It is a pity that the government did not use the time when the police was temporarily led by Peter Kovařík to change the law to introduce proper competition for such an important post," Zuzana Petkova of Let's Stop Corruption foundation commented.

She added that the foundation expects the new police chief to reform the police to prevent it from serving "our people" instead of the citizens.

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