On Thursday (February 8), the approved amendment to the Criminal Code has not yet been delivered to President Zuzana Čaputová from the parliament. This was confirmed for RTVS :24 by its spokesman Martin Strižinec. At the same time, the head of state wants to announce his position on the legislation this week. The coalition expects to use the veto and the proposal will return to parliament. However, the opposition recommends that she sign the law.
The head of state has said so far that he will not sign the approved amendment and will exercise his right of veto. However, the situation changed over time, as did the content and term of validity of the legislation itself. Since the president wants to use all means to prevent the amendment from entering into force, the signing of this law would give the Constitutional Court enough time to investigate it thoroughly.
The Constitutional Court can only deal with laws that have already been published in the collection of laws, and therefore signed by the head of state. The effectiveness of the amendment in its approved form was set for March 15, which increased the time window for its investigation. The fact that the president should consider not signing is also advised by opposition MPs.
In the program, editor Nina Janešíková addressed the amendment of the criminal law and the possibilities of President Zuzana Čaputová:
The opposition advises signing the amendment
Even if the amendment was vetoed by the president, MP for SaS Ondrej Dostál does not know what to blame the coalition for, according to him, it is “almost all bad”. Nevertheless, he thinks that it would be better if Zuzana Čaputová vetoed the law.
“From the point of view of the constitutional court being able to deal with the law thoroughly and possibly suspending its effectiveness before it takes effect, it would probably be better if she vetoed it. But it is entirely up to her whether she decides to use her right to veto and point out the shortcomings to the deputies, or she signs and goes directly to the Constitutional Court,” he told RTVS.
As for the possible changes that the president could propose in the event of a veto, Dostál does not think that the coalition would back down. “From the point of view that we cannot expect that the government coalition would be willing to listen to the opinion of Mrs. President and also from the point of view that the Constitutional Court needs some time to make a decision, this could be a better solution,” he added.
Irena Bihárová, MP for Progressive Slovakia, also considers choosing the strategy of not signing the Criminal Code as a better way. According to KDH president Martina Holečková, the president is in a difficult situation.
“I know for sure that Mrs. President will do everything to ensure that it is done as correctly and as best as possible. Really, the goal is that this law simply does not apply for even one day,” she said.
Michelko: The president has three options
SNS deputy Roman Michelko explained that the president has three options when signing or not signing the amendment. However, he considers one of them unlikely.
“One possibility is that she will not sign the law, or return it, because if she does not sign it after 15 days, it will automatically enter into force even without her signature. So one possibility is that it will go back to the second reading. The second possibility is that he will try to challenge it in the Constitutional Court and try for a ‘pre-emption’, which is extremely unlikely or risky,” he explained.
As Zuzana Čaputová’s third option, he named the return of the law, while she would turn to the Constitutional Court only after her veto was broken.
The coalition criticizes the opposition councils
MP for Smer-SD Marián Saloň called the opposition’s advice that the president should sign the amendment strange.
“According to what the president’s statements were, it seems rational to me that she should return it with comments. And then we have to deal with the fact that if it comes up as a whole, it will be commented on, or we will have specific reservations and then we can talk about it,” he thinks.
The Minister of the Interior, Matúš Šutaj Eštok, would welcome it if the president did the government coalition justice by signing the law. According to him, if there was another intention behind the signing of the amendment, it would be speculation on the part of the head of state.
“If I sign a law, I probably agree with it and then it’s just some speculation of the president,” he stated.