Slovak parliament to vote on controversial pardons

AP News
Posted: Mar 28, 2017 6:25 AM
Slovak parliament to vote on controversial pardons

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Lawmakers in Slovakia on Tuesday began debating a proposal to annul pardons by former authoritarian Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar that bar investigations into the kidnapping of the son of late President Michal Kovac, Meciar's political archrival.

Meciar led Slovakia into international isolation in the 1990s and is believed to be behind Michal Kovac Jr.'s abduction to Austria in 1995. The Slovak spy agency known as SIS — then led by a close Meciar ally — has been widely blamed.

Meciar's government temporarily acquired some presidential powers in 1998 when lawmakers failed to elect a new president. He granted pardons at that time that made it impossible to investigate the kidnapping.

Slovak President Andrej Kiska has urged parliament to cancel the pardons, and many Slovaks agree with Kiska.

Prime Minister Robert Fico rejected that, saying they are legally impossible to undo. But Fico's coalition recently changed its view and drafted a constitutional amendment to make it possible to undo them.

A three-fifths majority in the 150-seat parliament is needed for approval. The government doesn't have enough votes and has to rely on help from the opposition.

Parliament's final vote is expected Thursday.