President Ivan Gasparovic was possibly waiting on the right excuse or loophole to prevent him having to appoint Jozef Centes to the post of Attorney General, and so he has quite happily jumped on the latest shredding affair.
Yesterday Gasparovic picked up on two points that could be bent to question the integrity of Centes as Attorney General, even though many would question the level of integrity overall at the Attorney General’s Office these days.
The first point is why Centes used someone else’s computer to record the statement of MP Igor Matovic about corruption and cronyism in political parties. Gasparovic says this is beyond comprehension for him. The second point he made was that Centes must have had some pretty serious reason to shred the hard copy version of Matovic’s statement.
Centes says he had it deleted from the computer because it was not his PC and that the written copy was accidentally shredded by the clerks along with his notes. The office denies this, saying they had not come into contact with the papers and that someone else did the shredding. Opposition party Smer-SD has been calling for Centes’ resignation as a result.
President Gasparovic has been refusing to appoint Centes to the Attorney General post since he was elected by parliament in June, much to the satisfaction of the opposition, saying he would wait on the decision of the Constitutional Court, but since then the Constitutional Court has discontinued proceedings as the merit of the complaint ceased to exist.
Centes was voted in by blind ballot in parliament, while the Constitutional Court was examining changes to the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure that would enable an open vote, but Centes was voted in by blind ballot in line with the rules in place to date. Defiant Gasparovic says Centes’ actions and activities at the Attorney General’s Office are also one of the reasons swaying his decision to appoint him or not.
The opposition and the governing coalition have been wrestling over the post of Attorney General for months, with the coalition eventually getting its candidate Centes voted in, but the opposition are clinging to the latest incident as another chance to change the state of affairs. The post has been empty since February, when former AG and Centes’ rival for the post, Dobroslav Trnka, ended his 7-year term in office.