The post of the Prosecutor General has been vacant for more than a year in Slovakia.
Despite this, the Prosecutor General's Office has a very strong position. For example, it has recently managed to attack [sk], in the Constitutional Court, the law on minimal wages of nurses, arguing that it was a selective law that addressed the needs of just one group of medical workers, and, moreover, there were no funds in the budget to implement it. The Court ended up “postponing” the adoption of the law.
At the time of the Slovak Courts's decision, the neighboring Czech Republic promoted a popular prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová, who is “widely praised for her anti-corruption fight.” The Czech example appeared to be the opposite of the Slovak experience and showed why Slovak politicians on all sides of the political spectrum wanted to have their “own” friendly Prosecutor General.
And if that was impossible, then it was better to have none at all.
The previous Parliament chose Jozef Čentéš in June 2011, but President Ivan Gašparovič did not appoint him. At first, he was waiting for the Constitutional Court to determine if he had the right to reject the proposed candidacy or whether he had to approve it. In October 2012, the Court found [sk] that the President could reject a candidate who either did not meet the statutory prerequisites for appointment or there were grounds to call into question his/her ability to perform this function. The President had to make a decision in a reasonable time, however.
When a month later a journalist asked Gašparovič why he still had not appointed a prosecutor, she got this response [sk] from the President:
Are you illiterate? Don't you know how to read decisions of the Constitutional Court? There you have it, white on black.
It was neither the first time that the President was rude to a woman [en], nor the first time when he said something wrong.
Slovak diplomats already know how it is when the “President of the head of the state” (Gašparovič's own construction) speaks about Serbia being located by the sea, uses the word ‘balcony’ instead of the Balkans, Lebanon instead of Lisbon, or John Major instead of Tony Blair.
Commenting on the influence of the mafia in sports, the President once said [sk]:
Well, and what [to do] now? When these people are not there anymore, there will also be no football.
Now Gašparovič's past quotes and new jokes have gone viral on the web again.
A mock graph [sk] on the contents of the Slovak internet, posted recently by Cynická obluda, reflect this trend – porn (green) and instructions on how to make a bomb (yellow) lag far behind the jokes about Gašparovič (blue):
Gašparovič's “white-on-black” response to a journalist featured in another one [sk] of Cynická obluda's parodies:
When this year the President finally made the long-awaited Prosecutor General decision, it was not in Čentéš's favor. His arguments will be re-examined by the Constitutional Court.
One of these arguments against the appointment of Čentéš was a quote from a nonexistent publication that the President called “RSS Daily” (“denník RSS”) – which, in fact, turned out to be .týždeň (“The Week”), an online news and commentary outlet:
Needless to say, this blunder did not go unnoticed [sk] by Cynická obluda:
On a more serious note, the President's delayed Prosecutor General decision made many people angry.
A few citizens protested in front of the presidential palace, some signed a Facebook petition [sk] calling for a referendum about the President's removal. Fortunately, the petition did not succeed, because if there was a referendum, it would most likely fail because of non-participating voters. And, in accordance with the Slovak Constitution, this would restart the slowly ending five years of President Gašparovič's term. And this is why the anti-Gašparovič activists have quickly switched to an attempt to sue the President [sk].
Another recent presidential scandal involved blogger Juraj Poláček, who wrote [sk], among other things, that in August 2009, just one day after the President left an army training area, one of his regular hunting companions was accidentally shot there. The blogger wondered if the President's January 2012 amnesty was perhaps designed for the man who did the shooting. Even though Poláček later added that his theory about the amnesty was incorrect, the President decided to sue him for libel.
The President's spokesman said [sk] his boss had been on holiday in Croatia at the time of the shooting. Journalists, however, found that it was not true, so later the President's office came up with other “sightings” of him on that day (e.g., at a football game that never took place). For a while, Gašparovič's whereabouts were simply declared a state secret.
Naturally, this strange behavior has generated some rumors online. As well as plenty of hunting jokes.
Here is one:
Pjotr posted this comment [sk] on SME.sk, bringing home the sobering truth that the overall situation in Slovakia is actually the saddest of the jokes circulating out there:
The Office of the President of the head of the statehood of the Slovak Republic is seeking a quantum physicist to calculate the position of His Excellency, since the president has found in himself the quantum properties and not only can he be simultaneously in two different places, but he can also appear as an element of the ruling party and as one riding on the wave of a civil candidate, but, judging by his functional performance, it is not clear if he is alive or dead.