President Vetoes Division of Powers Act

President Vetoes Division of Powers Act
President Zuzana Caputova, stock photo by TASR

Bratislava, January 2 (TASR) - President Zuzana Caputova vetoed the so-called Division of Powers Act, as she harbours objections to several of its provisions and the legislative process itself, TASR learnt from President's spokesperson Martin Strizinec on Tuesday.

The President takes objection to new rules under which chairs of the Statistics Office and the Office for Supervision of Health Care are to be appointed and dismissed, as the Constitution stipulates that the senior functionaries are appointed by the President. Caputova perceives the bill as undermining the independence of both bodies from the government and warned also of its retroactive effects. "The bill can be applied also to incumbent chairs of both bodies, who were appointed under the existing norms, which leads to constitutional discord with the principle of legal certainty," she explained.

The head of state also objects to the reclassification of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Office for Regulation of Network Industries (URSO) as central bodies of the state administration. "This entails the passing of fundamental changes to the standing of SIS and URSO, which are taking place without any discussion with the bodies involved, no opportunity to attach comments and without consideration of all legislative impacts on the rights and duties of these bodies in practice," she stated and warned that ill-prepared changes might cause problems later.

The President criticised new changes concerning licenses for arms trades and products of the defence industry, the issuing of which is supposed to fall solely under the remit of the Defence Ministry, without any authorisation from the European and Foreign Affairs Ministry and SIS needed anymore. According to Caputova, this might put public interest in jeopardy, as she pointed out that the Defence Ministry on principle cannot have such high quality information on the state of human rights, security and state of democracy in third countries at its disposal as the Foreign Affairs Ministry and SIS.

The President believes that the reasons cited for the deliberation of the bill in a fast-track procedure are purely political, and not lawful.

Under the Division of Powers Act, approved by the House on December 20, a new ministry of tourism and sports was supposed to be established as of January 1.