Who can govern the state?

Who can govern the state?

The Slovak legislation does not specify who should temporarily take over as Prime Minister. What is certain is that it will be one of the four deputy prime ministers. The prime minister should designate his deputy in his absence - if Robert Fico fails to do so, the constitutional lawyer says, the government can also decide - and adopt a resolution on the temporary management of the state and on who will take over the prime minister's competences until his recovery.

The constitution does not contemplate such a situation - and somewhat surprisingly - says constitutional lawyer Vincent Bujňák. “We do not find specific provisions to address the situation where the Prime Minister is unable to perform his or her duties.”

We can only find it in the Competence Act, which, however, says that in his absence, the Prime Minister himself must authorise his deputy. It is not clear whether Robert Fico has done this, so constitutional lawyer Radoslav Procházka assumes that the decision will be taken by the ministers collectively: „A purposive interpretation suggests that the government will adjust the rules to itself for the necessary time. Whenever something completely unforeseen, unimaginable happens, the rules that we have are somehow adapted, adjusted, merged.“

According to experts, it is clear that it will be one of the four deputy prime ministers - Robert Kaliňák from Smer, Tomáš Taraba from SNS, Denisa Saková or Peter Kmec from Hlas. Political scientist Radoslav Štefančík is clear on this - he thinks it will most likely be the Defence Minister: "It cannot be ruled out that such a combination of deputy-prime ministers, if one deputy-prime ministers is from the same political party as the prime minister, could be the insurance policy. Moreover, Robert Kaliňák is a proven co-opponent who has been with Robert Fico for decades, so to speak."

Vincent Bujňák explains that the Deputy Prime Minister, whoever he or she may be, will not have limited powers in any way. The constitution says that the state must have a functioning government at all times, it must not be paralysed, and therefore even a deputy prime minister with the powers of a prime minister will not have his hands tied, Vincent Bujňák mentions only one contradiction: "He's not constrained in that, that he can't summon a government session now. There the question arises as to whether he can sign possibly a regulation that would be issued by the government. The constitution mentions that the Prime Minister signs it."

However, the expert adds that the Deputy Speaker has signed off on such an order in the past, so the state should function as normal until the Prime Minister recovers.

RTVS, Nina Alžbetkinová

Martina Greňová Šimkovičová, Photo: SITA

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