President Still Stalling Over Attorney General Election
The 16-month old dispute over the election of the country’s Attorney General looks set to continue despite a ruling of the Constitutional Court last week that President Ivan Gasparovic should accept the election that took place in parliament in June 2011 or state the grounds for his refusal.
The President seemingly took a ‘personal dislike’ to the winning candidate Jozef Centes, who was nominated by the four-party coalition government at the time and who beat rival Dobroslav Trnka (backed by Robert Fico’s SMER-SD party). Since the vote in parliament, the crucial post of Attorney General has been occupied by an interim head thanks to the President’s stalling.
The court ruling says President Gasparovic can either appoint Centes or give reasons why he would not. Until now the President was using the awaited rulings of the Constitutional Court as his excuse, and his spokesman is now cited by SME daily as saying the President would not deal with the issue just now and would wait for all complaints in the case to be fully processed.
The irony of that being that the complaint concerns “inactivity” and was filed by Centes, who refers to the President’s attitude as absurd. The President still hasn’t given any specific reasons for such adamant refusal to fill the hot seat, especially as he is essentially supposed to be impartial and not stand in the way of a democratically elected candidate.
When Centes was voted in parliament, the Smer-SD party of Robert Fico lodged an appeal against the election with the Constitutional Court, but it overruled the complaint. That is when the President stepped up and used the loophole in the law, which does not set out any specific deadline by which he should appoint the new Attorney General. The 16 months of stalling will therefore continue thanks to the inadequacy of Slovak law and the President’s ability to use it according to his own agenda.