Opposition party Smer-SD led by former PM Robert Fico is flapping over the secret vote on the post of Attorney General on Tuesday this week, which did not work out as they had hoped. The Smer-SD party is determined to get former AG Dobroslav Trnka back into office, while claiming that his candidature is not politically motivated.
The latest outcry of Robert Fico is that the coalition used a clever system by which they could check the voting of the various coalition caucuses, and so ensure that nobody stepped out of line. Fico has named the system after the PM, calling it Radicova’s Code, as she had put her head on the line by saying she would stand down if Trnka were re-elected.
Basically, because the coalition candidate Jozef Centes withdrew his candidacy on Friday last week, this opened up four voting options to coalition MPs. They could either abstain from voting, cast a void vote, vote against Trnka’s nomination or vote in favour of it.
Some of the nullified votes were scored diagonally while others were marked differently. Fico is claiming that the counts of the different voting options basically correspond to the various caucuses, meaning the coalition parties could ‘prove’ to each other how they voted.
If true, it was a clever manoeuvre on the part of the coalition so that they could prevent Trnka from being voted back into the powerful AG post, while respecting the secret vote ordered by the Constitutional Court. In denial of the accusations, parliamentary speaker and head of the SaS party Richard Sulik said that Fico and his party should stop reading so much sci-fi. The actual ballot papers have already been destroyed, in line with the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure.
Fico is claiming that thanks to Radicova’s Code the coalition MPs could not vote freely, and so the merry-go-round continues, as he is calling for candidate Trnka to appeal once again to the Constitutional court. Fico wants the court to issue a preliminary injunction preventing any future public vote until such times as a secret ballot is held again. Accounting for past conduct, Trnka will most likely bow to the demands of Fico and file the motion.
On the same day as the thwarted vote, the government pushed through a bill that will make all future AG votes public. The power held by the Attorney General makes it a highly sensitive and powerful post, one which calls for impartiality and a pure sense of justice. Given all the politicising of the vote, this can hardly be expected and the people of Slovakia can hardly feel reassured, no matter who occupies the AG throne in the end.
Smer-SD and Robert Fico’s continued determination to get Dobroslav Trnka elected as Attorney General sends chills down the spine and some would say that it is hard to expect corruption and the back-scratching practices in Slovakia to end, or at least diminish, as long as such political nominations continue, especially where the justice system is concerned.