Fico: President Attempts to Help Coalition by Challenging Referendum in Court

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Robert Fico (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, June 27 (TASR) – President Zuzana Caputova has tried to help the governing coalition by challenging the referendum on early election in the Constitutional Court, Smer-SD chair Robert Fico declared at a press conference on Sunday.

On the other hand, Fico acknowledged Caputova’s right to reach out to the Constitutional Court.

“We are expecting the verdict of the court any day now,” claimed Fico, adding that if the referendum is cleared by the court it will likely be held in September.

If the referendum won’t be allowed to take place, then Caputova would bear full political responsibility, said Fico. And if the people subsequently choose to engage in lawful protests, they will enjoy the full support from Smer-SD. The Smer-SD leader is even prepared to collect another batch of signatures for another referendum.

Fico pointed out that similar referendums on early elections had already been held in the past.
“The petition for the referendum was in full compliance with the law and met all the former prerequisites. This was acknowledged also by the President. She has the petition sheets on the table with an enormous amount of signatures,” stated Fico.

In response, Caputova’s spokesperson Martin Strizinec replied that if Smer-SD is convinced that the referendum on early election is in full accordance with the Slovak Constitution, then it shouldn’t be concerned about the court’s verdict.

Strizinec claimed that this statement bespeaks of either Fico’s ignorance of the Constitution or tendetious twisting of the facts. “The power to assess whether something is in accordance with the Constitution or not falls exclusively under the purview of the Constitutional Court and not the President or Smer-SD party,” he said.

The petition for the referendum on the early election garnered the support of 585,000 people. The petition sheets were submitted to the Presidential Palace on May 3.

The petition was initiated by opposition’s Smer-SD party, non-parliamentary Voice-SD party, Slovak National Party (SNS) and Socialisti.sk party, all of which insist that the referendum is supposed to be apolitical. It drew support from the Confederation of Labour Unions.
A number of coalition representatives cast doubt over the constitutionality of the referendum question.