Zilinka Elected New Prosecutor-General in Parliament

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Prosecutor-General Maros Zilinka (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 3 (TASR) – Prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Maros Zilinka was elected the new prosecutor-general in a vote in Parliament on Thursday.
The candidate should be appointed to the post by President Zuzana Caputova.
Zilinka was elected in the public vote by 132 lawmakers out of 147 present to a 7-year tenure.

Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO) has been utterly defeated in the battle for prosecutor-general, as the election of Maros Zilinka to the post essentially means that the coalition cast a vote of no-confidence in Matovic, TASR was told by opposition Smer-SD party spokesperson Jan Mazgut.

“No wonder that he didn’t even come to a session of the coalition council after such a total debacle. Smer-SD carefully read the situation in Parliament and, under the circumstances, believes it made the right call,” claimed the spokesperson, adding that Smer-SD voted for Zilinka.

House Chair and leader of We Are Family party Boris Kollar expects newly-elected Maros Zilinka to cleanse the prosecutor’s office in his new role as Prosecutor-General and firmly hopes that Zilinka won’t let Slovakia down.

“I’d like to echo the nationwide demand towards him to cleanse the prosecutor’s office and always act morally and honestly,” declared Kollar in his statement.

We Are Family caucus chair Peter Pcolinsky appreciated that an overwhelming majority of present coalition lawmakers threw their support behind Zilinka. He underlined that no deals on appointments to Prosecutor-General’s deputies posts have been made and even the opposition conceded that Zilinka is the best candidate.

According to Pcolinsky, it’s quite likely that the election of Special Prosecutor might be held by the end of the year. “If Mr. (Daniel) Lipsic plans to run, we can also take his name into consideration. We don’t even know the candidates yet,” Pcolinsky replied to a question as to whether lawyer Daniel Lipsic could run for the Special Prosecutor.

President Zuzana Caputova welcomes the fact that Parliament elected the new Prosecutor-General in the first round of the vote already, TASR was told by President’s spokesperson Martin Strizinec.

The President also gave her thumbs-up over the fact that the vote had been preceded by public hearings of each candidate. “The Prosecutor-General is one of the most important posts in the state for the carrying out of justice,” she noted.

Justice Minister Maria Kolikova (For the People) hopes that Maros Zilinka in his new capacity as Prosecutor-General will co-operate in the implementation of the prosecutor’s office reform. “I would like to congratulate Mr. Zilinka on his election as the Prosecutor-General at this moment. I hope that just as we wanted to carry out the prosecutor’s office reform back in 2010, we will do it together now as well,” the minister told reporters at Parliament.

Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party believes that Maros Zilinka as the new Prosecutor-General will help restore public trust in the rule of law, declared SaS leader Richard Sulik.

“We congratulate newly-elected Maros Zilinka and hope that he will help restore public trust in the rule of law,” read a post released by the party on a social network.

Independent MPs around Peter Pellegrini believe that Maros Zilinka will retain independence in the post of prosecutor-general, spokesperson for the Voice-Social Democracy party Patricia Medved Macikova told TASR, adding that they congratulated him on his election.

“We believe that his professional experience and personal story will help him cope with his key role as head of the prosecutor’s office – to be able to resist political pressure and maintain his own independence, based solely on respect for the law and the facts,” she said.

The election of Maros Zilinka from among the candidates for the post of prosecutor-general is a result of a compromise by the OLaNO caucus as it has been talking all the time about trying to reach an agreement in the coalition, Parliamentary Vice-chair Gabor Grendel (OLaNO) said after the results were announced.

Grendel doesn’t mind that the opposition also voted for him, claiming that he would have won even without such support. According to him, the fact that the junior coalition For the People party didn’t vote for him won’t disrupt the further functioning of the coalition.

Six candidates ran to be Prosecutor-General, aside from Zilinka it was also Jozef Centes, Tomas Honz, Jan Santa, Rastislav Remeta and Juraj Kliment. Originally Jan Hrivnak was the seventh hopeful, but he chose to withdraw from the race a day before the vote.