Today the government pushed through its plan to make the voting on the Attorney General post an open ballot instead of a secret one, something that caused turmoil within the coalition in the past three votes.
The coalition took advantage of its slim majority in parliament to push through the revision (79/150), which amends the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure. The coalition had all kinds of problems in the three previous votes, which produced nobody to replace former Attorney General Dobroslav Trnka. Trnka had to step down eventually anyway, as his seven-year term came to an end in February.
The revision means that MPs will now be openly declaring how they vote on the Attorney General and other public functions, like Constitutional Court judges and the heads of the Supreme Audit Office (NKU), among others.
The opposition was strongly against the revision, because it was well aware of just how fragile the coalition can be when it comes to secret ballots.
In November last year the SDKU blocked the vote by not agreeing with the other 3 coalition partners on a candidate. Then on 2 December some MPs betrayed the coalition by not voting a common candidate that they had finally agreed on. This put a lot of strain on the coalition and even led to an investigation into corruption allegations. The identity of the coalition MPs who voted against the government were never found out.
With PM Iveta Radicova saying she would stand down if Dobroslav Trnka were to remain in the post, the vote could have even brought down the government. Eventually the coalition decided to make the vote by open ballot so as to avoid any further twists in the tale.
After the motion was passed, leader of opposition party Smer-SD said the government had broken the neck of Slovak democracy, calling it the most shameful vote in the history of Slovak parliament. That is something that can be disputed, though, with some strong competition from the past for such a title.