Maria Patakyova Elected as New Ombudswoman

New ombudswoman Maria Patakyova. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 8 (TASR) – Maria Patakyova was elected as the new ombudswoman in a secret ballot in Parliament on Wednesday.

The governing coalition candidate, who received 75 votes in the 150-member House, will replace Jana Dubovcova, whose five-year term expires on March 28.

Patakyova’s rivals in the secret ballot, OLaNO-NOVA and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) candidate Janka Siposova and Kotleba-People’s Party Our Slovakia’s (LSNS) Anton Culen, backed also by Independent MP Peter Marcek, received 41 and 15 votes, respectively.

The bid of Patakyova, a vice-chancellor of Comenius University in Bratislava and an active barrister, was presented by coalition party Most-Hid with the support of the other two governing parties, Smer-SD and the Slovak National Party (SNS). Most-Hid described her as a recognised expert and an authority on the sphere of law both at home and abroad, with specialisation in European law.

When it comes to human rights, she’s Comenius University’s representative at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC).

At a hearing before the parliamentary human rights committee earlier this week, Patakyova stated that as ombudswoman she wants to keep tabs on executive power, point to shortcomings and defend the rights of senior citizens. In addition, she wants to maintain the high professional standard of the ombudsman’s work and to support the independence of and respect for the Ombudsman’s Office.