To be or not to be

To be or not to be

Amid heightened security, five judges of the Supreme Court gathered on Tuesday morning to take a look at a request filed by General Prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár to dissolve the parliamentary far-right People's Party Our Slovakia led by Marian Kotleba. According to the complaint, filed two years ago, this party has a fascist orientation and plans to over-throw Slovakia's current democratic regime. Following the 2016 general elections the party has 13 MPs in Parliament. Their leader, Marian Kotleba, was also Governor of the Banská Bystrica region in Central Slovakia until 2017, and a presidential candidate in March, coming in fourth with 10.3 percent of the vote.

About 500 party supporters marched on Bratislava streets on Tuesday morning before the court proceedings started. They came by bus and train, dressed in green T-shirts and waving flags with the party's logo. MP Marian Kotleba and three lawyers represented the party in court.

According to the prosecutor in the case, "the proposal to dissolve the party is something extraordinary, unique and has only happened once in Slovakia. It was in 2006 and the actors who were before the court back then, representing Pospolitost, are basically the same as those we are discussing today. They have learnt from that experience and are using more sophisticated language now." Quotes from the party's program for the 2016 elections were presented in court, such as: "We will impose order on the parasites in the settlements," and "We will protect people from the escalating Gypsy terror." The prosecutor argued that the party leadership plans to set up paramilitary units with the goal of overthrowing the current democratic system and installing an authoritarian regime ruled by a single political party.

Lawyers for the party argued that General Prosecutor's request is politically motivated. They asked for a long list of officials to be called to testify in court, including President Andrej Kiska and former Prime Minister Robert Fico. They also pointed out the party's high approval ratings in opinion polls. "It does not matter how the court rules in this case, we will continue our political work", said MP Milan Uhrik, who spoke to party supporters gathered in front of the General Prosecutor's building. Even if the court decides to dissolve the party, its MPs will remain in Parliament as independent.

The court postponed its ruling until April 29th.

Anca Dragu, Photo: TASR

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