Scramble for Control of Judiciary Begins

Down but not out (c) Martin Domok -

Following the victory of Andrej Kiska over current Prime Minister Robert Fico in the presidential elections at the weekend, many in Slovakia worried that the Smer-SD party would scramble, with the help of the ever-loyal President Ivan Gasparovic, to change the playing field.

Supreme Court and Judicial Council chairman, Stefan Harabin (c) Martin Domok @

One key area concerns Slovakia’s ailing judiciary, with moves now taking place to hold elections to the Judicial Council before Kiska takes up office. Parliament, controlled by Robert Fico’s Smer-SD party, will nominate six members to the Council this week. A planned change to the Constitution will also strip the new president of the power to appoint three members to the Council.

A petition by head of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (SaS), Richard Sulik, to wait for the new president was rejected by Smer-SD MPs in parliament. What’s more, current Chairman of the Supreme Court, Stefan Harabin, looks like he might be among the candidates.

In addition to the rushed appointment of the Judicial Council, PM Robert Fico’s Smer-SD party plans to change the Constitution with the help of the Christian democrats of KDH, in return for their cherished description of what constitutes wedlock (between one man and one woman).

Supreme Court SR (c) John Boyd, The Daily.SK

The constitutional change, already in the second reading, would strip Kiska of the power to appoint three members to the Judicial Council, with effect from September. The members would then be appointed in part by judges, and in part by the Smer-SD controlled government and parliament. It is all too much like a prepared scenario, ready to be put in place after Robert Fico lost in the presidential elections on Saturday 29 March.

Harabin, as head also of the Judicial Council, must set the date of the elections at least 45 days before they are to take place. Kiska, who said he would refuse to appoint Harabin, is not due to take over the presidential role from Gasparovic until 15 June, so still lots of time, despite the protests of the opposition.

Opposition parties Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), Nova and Ordinary People (OLaNO) have called for the elections to be put on hold and also for the KDH party not to support the constitutional change that would weaken Kiska’s presidential powers.

KDH Presidential candidate Pavol Hrusovsky with KDH party head Jan Figel (c) John Boyd, The Daily.SK

The KDH party, however, has shown in the past that it is willing to jump in and out of bed with political partners to get what it wants, in this case a symbolic victory in its anti-gay crusade, so they could opt for a deal with the devil, figuratively speaking, of course.


  1. The more I read about Slovak politics the more convinced I am of collective stupidity. After almost 50 years of communist dictatorship and finally “winning” a democratic free state did no one think to ensure that the constitution should be protected from the manipulations of politicians for their own benefit? A single line, one simple inclusion – “The Constitution of the Slovak Republic may only be amended by public referendum…….Blah, blah, blah,” but no, instead Slovakia arrives at the current situation where politicians can change it at their will. But then again the entire political system seems to be designed to allow manipulation. A single chamber and, until now, politically nominated and affiliated Presidents has been a recipe for dubious activities and decisions. Political nominations and by inference control of the Judiciary, Prosecutors,Police and other key agencies of the state is hardly the norm in other democracies. The election system appears to be proportional representation twisted out of all recognition – the 5% threshold must be a unique Slovak concept. The Party Slate system is bizarre to say the least. Only in Slovakia can some clown who no one in their right mind would ever vote for be appointed to parliament. Sorry Slovakia, you’ve had twenty years of a political system that was broken from day one, is too easy to abuse and manipulate by those who sole concern is their own personal power and greed. Time for a revolution and a clear out of the big house or this country will continue to go nowhere fast!

    1. You’re right about the Constitution, of course. Never is it more important for people to be on the guard than in the aftermath of a revolution, otherwise you’re just replacing one bunch of scoundrels with another – as we see.

      As for the electoral system, a lot of countries operate closed-list PR, which can surely lead to more opaqueness than what Slovakia has. Admittedly, some are countries with even less right to be called democracies (eg Russia). And the threshold is by no means unique either. Belgium has a 5% one, Israel, sometimes called the most democratic system of all, has one and keeps raising it. The arguments for it – preventing total fragmentation – are reasonable enough.

      The electoral system’s not the problem in Svk so much as the entire political culture, though I guess that’s kind of what you’re saying.

      1. Then the endeth todayeth sermon on the mount ……

        Thank you James, ever thought about writing a book ?

  2. “In addition to the rushed appointment of the Judicial Council, PM Robert Fico’s Smer-SD party plans to change the Constitution with the help of the Christian democrats of KDH, in return for their cherished description of what constitutes wedlock (between one man and one woman).”

    Raise a little hell between the ship sinks. Sick. How much ya payin da choich, yo?
    Looord forgive same-sex marriage ever happens…I guess corruption fairs better in a society?

    1. Protest Slowvaks , Protest ! Sit in at the Presidents Palace, the riot the Parliament , the invade the Ministry of XXXXXXX !!!!!

      Christ why am I even bothering …..Slowvaks will all be sitting at home waiting for someone else to do it for them ….perhaps Slowvaks actually like the broom handle being constantly shoved up their back passage ???

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