Fico: Caputova’s Decision to Challenge Referendum Question at Court Fig Leaf

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Smer-SD head Robert Fico (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 12 (TASR) – President Zuzana Caputova’s decision to challenge one of the referendum questions at the Constitutional Court is a fig leaf, Smer-SD head Robert Fico stated on Monday, opining that Caputova intentionally didn’t convene the referendum on October 29, when joint regional and municipal elections will be held in the country, because she knows that the referendum would be successful if it took place on that day.

“I don’t know what’s unconstitutional about a question asking about people’s opinion on the departure of a broken, incompetent and anti-Slovak government. The argument that the government must have a four-year term is authoritarian and undemocratic,” said Fico.

At the same time, the ex-premier maintained that the president can look for legal loopholes and make excuses, adding that she could have convened the referendum on October 29 anyway. According to him, Caputova was informed about the referendum questions already in June and her office didn’t need a lot of time to verify the petition signatures.

Caputova announced on Monday that she’s set to declare a referendum concerning a snap general election. According to the president, the referendum will definitely involve one question, and it’ll depend on the Constitutional Court whether there will be a second one.

The question that will certainly appear in the plebiscite will ask the public whether it agrees that an early termination of the parliamentary electoral term can be carried out via a referendum or a resolution of Parliament.

As for the second question, which should ask whether people agree that the incumbent Government should resign immediately, Caputova claimed that she has her doubts regarding its constitutionality, which is why she’s decided to ask the Constitutional Court to examine it. Should the court approve the challenged question, the president maintained that she will include it in the referendum.

The two questions were recently supported by approximately 400,000 people in a referendum petition initiated by the opposition Smer-SD party. The president noted that enough signatures had been submitted, which fulfilled the prerequisite for declaring a referendum.