Key Attorney General Post Still in Contention

The election of an Attorney General in Slovakia will most likely never be a simple affair, and even though the nominee of the outgoing four-party coalition Jozef Centes was duly elected in a blind ballot vote in parliament in June last year, this crucial post has remained empty for over a year already.

Attorney General's Office - no head since February 2011 (c) The Daily

The problem arises because the post should be occupied by someone with maximum neutrality and integrity, something that most Slovak politicians are not such experts on. Needless to say, especially with the Gorilla accusations hanging over so many top politicians, getting control over such an important body as the Attorney General’s Office could be a matter of life or death, at least politically.

Under the previous Robert Fico government the post was held by current deputy AG, Dobroslav Trnka, who ended his 7-year term in February 2011. All kinds of games and legal loopholes were employed as the left and right wings fought to get control over the vacant post. The whole charade was accompanied by conflicts within the governing coalition, parliamentary walkouts, legal contentions at the Constitutional Court, and in the end, the defiance of President Ivan Gasparovic to appoint Centes as he personally did not have faith in him (this excuse was given after 7 months of stalling).

Given that Robert Fico and President Gasparovic have long had amicable and mutually fruitful relations, it is hard for some to imagine that the President is acting on his own conscience. One person who definitely believes that Fico has been manipulating Gasparovic’s decision, is head of the SDKU party Mikulas Dzurinda, who has made his opinion clear at a recent press conference.

After a parliamentary resolution to pressure the President failed last week again, Dzurinda and his SDKU party have launched a petition today by which they hope to force the President to appoint Centes, preferably before the elections. The President has, rather arrogantly, already referred to the petition as futile, saying it is just a way of trying to detract attention from the Gorilla affair. Dzurinda says that his party would do everything in its power to make sure dodgy affairs were not swept under the carpet, even though he and his party are at the centre of corruption suspicions thanks to the Gorilla affair.

Meanwhile the four governing coalition parties (SDKU, KDH, SaS and Most-Hid) plan to petition to the Constitutional Court to determine whether President Gasparovic can postpone the appointment of Centes. By law the President is obliged to ensure the due operation of state bodies.

In all likelihood, Centes will now never be appointed to the post and the whole system of finding and approving a new candidate can be expected to start after next month’s elections, the outcome of which will be crucial also in this respect. Maybe political parties should have no say at all in who becomes the Attorney General, considering the gravity and nature of some of the cases that are dealt with, such as those surrounding the Gorilla affair, but that would probably just spoil the game.


  1. ~So the problem is that people vote wrong people. How to change that? How to change mind of 50, 60, 70 years old man whose salary is 400EUR/month?
    Reply~ …………

    You will note, I did not reprint your entire pathetic excuse for the failure of Slovaks to actually work longer than 4 hours a day …if they attend at all , drink a lot less Slivi at the pub or at home ( funny out of 400 euro , they always find cash for endless booze!) and vote for the future , rather than live in the past , when bread was 1 krone a shot .

  2. Daves if you live in SVK you might understand some things: The 40 years of communism changed people’s minds a lot. All my grandparents voted Meciar. And the old people now vote Fico – the socialist copy of Meciar.
    Don’t forget that since 1989 the economical situation in SVK was getting worse till maybe 2004 when it reached the level of 1989. 20 years of belt tighting for the people was enough. People vote Fico because they are tired and in my eyes also selfish – not thinking too far to the future.
    Look at Greece. Ever since their government announced belt-tightining they are in the streets, telling everybody their heart breaking stories how they can’t feed their families and how many people commited suicide.
    So the problem is that people vote wrong people. How to change that? How to change mind of 50, 60, 70 years old man whose salary is 400EUR/month?

  3. Dave , Basically yes !

    Remember many of the Laws on appointments were set, during the autocratic Meciar years …were he even became a self appointed President and gave Presidential Pardons to some of the biggest crooks and murderers on the planet .

    The problem is you need 90 votes to actually change the Slovak Constitution …and as those who came into power since 1998 have only ever obtained a slim majority over the Opposition .

    Democracy and being transparent does not come easy to this current crop of MP`s , who are special people, more equal than the rest of the nation and have no good reason to change the status quo .

  4. Can someone help me here? Do I understand correctly that once elected the Slovak President, irrespective of how incompetent or who is pulling his / her strings, can ride roughshod over the elected government’s decisions and basically do what ever they want, without explanation or justification and that there is no mechanism for removing the said plantpot from office!
    Has everyone been asleep in this country for the last 20 years? Politicians can make themselves immune from criminal action, make the appointments of the people who should be investigating their dodgy deals and ensure, as a final backup, that the President is “their man” . All this happens and nobody, until recently, is in the least concerned!
    Cash strapped Slovakia could save some money and improve the lives of all its citizens by putting bars on the windows of parliament and the presidential palace and locking the doors on all those inside – Oh! and chuck Harabin and Trnka in with them.

  5. Fear DR ? ….I was always right , I never ever believed all the bull about this land of milk & honey some morons love to promote ………..oh the people are just so friendly as they rob your wallet …the Tatra mountains are so beautiful , as some investment crook tries to build a Multi Function ski resort where nature, forest and trees once stood .

  6. Envying / in a positive way / all people living in functional countries. Our dear home land is unfortunatelly a bad joke. Even african dictators must be ashamed how shy they are in comparation with our glorious ” choosen ones “.

  7. This really was beautiful. A three way constitutional conflict, willful disregard of court orders, a never ending pocket veto and what ultimately looks like the return of Trnka- a guy who couldn’t seem to find a single crime to investigate during the whole Fico government. From my first Slovak scandal (Pociatek and the J&T yacht) through the Sky Toll tender, interblue, land distribution, etc., etc., no serious investigation of things that I could get a conviction on with 10 minutes and some crayons…..

    Sometimes I fear George M is right about this place. All I can keep doing is reminding myself that thank god these aren’t my politicians….

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