Today the seat of the Attorney General will be occupied for the last time by outgoing AG Dobroslav Trnka as he gives up the post tomorrow after seven years. Or will it? In almost Schwarzenegger style, yesterday Trnka announced: “I will be back!”.
The government gave the green light to legislative changes yesterday that will shuffle the cards at the AG office and also make the voting in of the AG an open vote instead of a secret ballot as has been to date. It is this change that in the end will make it possible for Trnka to compete for the post again.
It was initially thought that Trnka would not be able to stand for re-election, but as Prime Minister Iveta Radicova pointed out, Trnka could stand for re-election because he was never a party to a vote under the new form of the Attorney General Act that the government plans to adopt, and there can be no retroactive force. Opinions on this matter differ, though, and even the new law states that nobody can hold the post twice.
The post of Attorney General will officially be vacant after today until the new law comes into force on 1 May probably, although it will be filled temporarily by Trnka’s deputy Ladislav Tichy. Once the law is effective, a public election of the new AG will take place. The new law will change the rules a little, and so the PM wants to push through the changes first so that candidates know what they are taking on.
The proposals have still to be reviewed and revised by the AG himself, but once review proceedings have finished, the standard legislative process will be launched.
At the parliamentary session yesterday, opposition party Smer-SD motioned to have another blind ballot vote on the AG post, but their proposal was rejected.
Three blind votes took place last year but the coalition failed to get its candidate voted in. The situation led to all kinds of problems within the coalition over betrayal and loyalty, and eventually forced the government to push for making the vote open instead of blind.