Slovakia president urges lawmakers to reconsider proposed criminal law reforms that prompted street protests News, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons(foto di Francesco Ammendola - Ufficio per la Stampa e la Comunicazione della Presidenza della Repubblica)
Slovakia president urges lawmakers to reconsider proposed criminal law reforms that prompted street protests

Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová urged lawmakers on Thursday to reconsider Prime Minister Robert Fico’s proposal to reform Slovakia’s criminal law and dissolve the Special Prosecutor’s Office. She warned that Fico’s proposed legislative changes may violate the country’s legislative process, constitution and principles of the rule of law.

Fico introduced the reforms in December as a way to weaken penalties for financial offenses, eliminate whistleblower protection for police officers and dissolve the Special Prosecutor’s Office. He stated that the Special Prosecutor’s Office, which handles serious crimes such as corruption, was politically motivated and violated human rights.

Čaputová said that Fico’s proposed reforms were inconsistent with the country’s constitution and that inappropriate legislation could intrude into the rights of individuals affected by criminal activity. She also previously stated on December 8, 2023 that Fico’s proposed reforms would lead to groundless fundamental changes to the criminal law that were not communicated to the public.

Fico’s proposed reforms were met with protests in 24 Slovak cities and towns, including Bratislava, Slovakia. 26,000 individuals protested against his proposed reforms and cabinet in Bratislava. Member of the Slovak Parliament Michal Šimečka condemned Fico’s proposed reforms in agreeing with Čaputová. He called upon the government to withdraw its proposed reforms and said that Europe is watching Slovakia fight for democracy and the rule of law. In addition, head of opposition party Freedom and Solidarity Richard Sulík disapproved of the proposed reforms and stated that they seem to have been drafted by the mafia.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution where it expressed concerns over Fico’s proposed reforms. The European Parliament suggested that the reforms could impede freedom and restrict the work of non-governmental organizations in Slovakia. It was also worried that the reforms would endanger the rule of law in Slovakia.