Home Europe Thousands rally in Slovakia to condemn the government plan to close top prosecutors’ office

Thousands rally in Slovakia to condemn the government plan to close top prosecutors’ office

by editor

Slovakians took to the streets of various towns and cities, including the capital Bratislava, to protest controversial proposals made by the new government of populist Prime Minister Robert Fico.


Thousands have taken to the streets of Slovakia, rallying in Bratislava and other major cities to denounce a plan by Prime Minister Robert Fico’s new populist government to amend the country’s penal code.

Demonstrators marched on Tuesday against the changes proposed by the coalition government, among them a proposal to abolish the special prosecutor’s office, which handles serious crimes such as graft, organised crime and extremism.

The changes are set to come into force by mid-January. They will returning those prosecutions to regional offices, which haven’t dealt with such crimes for 20 years.

A vocal but peaceful crowd in Bratislava gathered in front of the government office in a rally organised by several opposition parties, including Progressive Slovakia, the Christian Democrats and Freedom and Solidarity.

”We’ll defend our democracy,” said Michal Simecka, the head of the liberal Progressive Slovakia, the strongest opposition party. He called the proposals “a pro-mafia package.”

“We’ve had enough of Fico,” the people chanted.

Smaller rallies took place in the cities of Kosice, Nitra, Zilina, Banska Bystrica and Poprad.

Richard Sulik, the head of the pro-business Freedom and Solidarity party, said that around 1,000 unfinished cases are currently under investigation by special prosecutors.

“The proposed changes have a potential [sic] to disrupt our legal system,” Sulik explained.

President Zuzana Caputova said on Friday that in her opinion, the changes go against the rule of law. She noted that the European Commission also has expressed concerns that the measure is being rushed through.

The legislation was approved by Fico’s government on Wednesday, but now needs parliamentary and presidential approval. The three-party coalition currently has a majority in parliament.

Fico returned to power for the fourth time after his scandal-tainted leftist party won Slovakia’s 30 September parliamentary election on a pro-Russia and anti-American platform.

His critics worry that his return could lead Slovakia to abandon its pro-Western course and instead follow the direction of Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Since Fico’s government came to power, some elite investigators and police officials who deal with top corruption cases have been dismissed or furloughed. The planned changes in the legal system also include a reduction in punishments for corruption.

Under the previous government, which came to power in 2020 after campaigning on an anti-corruption ticket, dozens of senior officials, police officers, judges, prosecutors, politicians and businesspeople linked to Fico’s party have been charged and convicted of corruption and other crimes.

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