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Hundreds rally throughout Slovakia to sentence modifications to penal code proposed by populist prime minister

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BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Hundreds of individuals rallied throughout Slovakia on Thursday as protests intensified in opposition to a plan by the brand new authorities of populist Prime Minister Robert Fico to amend the nation’s penal code.

The protests got here hours after President Zuzana Čaputová voiced her sturdy opposition to the modifications, saying they might jeopardize the rule of regulation.

The plan authorised by Fico’s coalition authorities consists of abolishing the particular prosecutors’ workplace, which handles critical crimes reminiscent of graft, organized crime and extremism. These {cases} can be taken over by prosecutors in regional workplaces, which haven’t handled such crimes for 20 years.

The deliberate modifications additionally embrace a discount in punishments for corruption and another crimes, together with the potential for suspended sentences, and a big shortening of the statute of limitations.

The coalition needs to make use of a fast-track parliamentary process to approve them.

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The capital was among the many 24 main cities and cities the place protests occurred, the most important quantity since they began Dec 7 in Bratislava.

Richard Sulík, head of the opposition Freedom and Solidarity celebration informed the gang braving rain at Bratislava’s jammed SNP sq. that the proposals appear like they had been drafted by the “mafia.”

“It is a disgrace what this pro-mafia coalition is doing,” Sulík stated.

“Mafia, mafia,” individuals chanted.

Michal Šimečka, who heads the liberal Progressive Slovakia, the strongest opposition celebration, stated the federal government has to “withdraw the insane laws.”

“At this time, the entire Europe is watching our struggle for the rule of regulation and democracy,” Šimečka stated.

“We received’t be silent,” the individuals responded.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament questioned Slovakia’s potential to struggle corruption and shield the EU funds if the modifications are adopted.

The European Public Prosecutor´s Workplace has additionally stated Slovakia’s plans threaten the safety of the EU’s monetary pursuits and its anti-corruption framework.

Earlier on Thursday, Slovakia’s president voiced her sturdy opposition to the federal government’s transfer.

In an tackle to Parliament, Čaputová stated the proposed modifications might hurt the rule of regulation and trigger “unpredictable” harm to society.

“It’s unprecedented for such critical modifications within the penal code to happen and not using a correct legislative course of,” Čaputová stated.

Čaputová requested lawmakers to permit a correct evaluation of the proposed modifications earlier than approving them.

The laws wants parliamentary and presidential approval. The three-party coalition has a majority in Parliament, and Čaputová’s anticipated veto could possibly be overridden by a easy majority.

Čaputová stated she is keen to carry a constitutional problem of the laws. It’s unclear how the Constitutional Court docket would possibly rule.

Fico returned to energy for the fourth time after his scandal-tainted leftist celebration received Sept. 30 parliamentary elections on a pro-Russia and anti-American platform.

Plenty of individuals linked to the celebration face prosecution in corruption scandals.

Fico’s critics fear his return may lead Slovakia to desert its pro-Western course and as an alternative observe the course of Hungary underneath Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

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