Pellegrini: House Now Free to Reject Istanbul Convention Definitively

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Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 12 (TASR) – The vote on the Istanbul Convention, to be held at a special House session, would provide an opportunity to definitively address the document and complete the process of rejecting its ratification, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini stated after a Government session on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the Government rejected the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) and recommended Parliament to voice a similar disapproval of the document.

In mid-December 2019, the Government acknowledged two House resolutions, dated from March and November 2019, that instructed the Cabinet to discontinue the process leading towards the ratification of the Convention.

This was due to concerns stemming from the interpretation of several provisions of the document and their potential clash with the Slovak Constitution, particularly the discord with the constitutional definition of marriage as a union between a man and woman, and concerns surrounding the elimination of gender stereotypes.

In December, the Government authorised the Prime Minister to ask President Zuzana Caputova to announce to the Council of Europe the intent of Slovakia not to become a signatory to the Istanbul Convention. Caputova has failed to oblige, however, as her actions regarding the rejection of Istanbul Convention are guided by a different legal interpretation. Seeing as not even Monday’s (February 10) meeting of the top three constitutional officials has yielded any consensus on the issue, the Government proposes to Parliament to reject the Istanbul Convention outright.

“I firmly hope that based on Parliament’s vote and its definitive rejection of the ratification, Ms. President and all the relevant institutions will proceed to inform the Council of Europe that Slovakia won’t become a signatory party to the document, which stirs tension in our society,” underlined Pellegrini. “If that won’t be the case, I’ll try to withdraw [Slovakia’s] signature from the ratification.”

Pellegrini emphasised that differing legal interpretations and speculations about proper procedural rejection of the ratification cannot obstruct the effort to carry out the wish embraced by the majority of Slovaks and that is not to have Slovakia join the Istanbul Convention.