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Transparency International alarmed over threats to rule of law in post-election Slovakia

Transparency International is seriously concerned about the latest developments undermining the rule of law in Slovakia. We urge the government to refrain from purpose-driven changes and to return to standard legislative procedures, which include proper consultation with the public and experts.

Following the parliamentary elections in September 2023, the Slovak Republic government swiftly introduced changes to a number of laws through an accelerated legislative procedure. These include amendments to the Criminal Code, the forceful dismantling of the Special Prosecutor's Office, personnel changes in the Judicial Council and police, and a reduction in protections for whistleblowers. Of particular concern are the planned amendments to the Criminal Code, which include a potential shortening of the statute of limitations for criminal offenses. If adopted, these amendments would reduce penalties for corruption and limit the ability to prosecute perpetrators in ongoing cases.

The principles of the rule of law are further compromised by widespread personnel replacements in key positions within public administration and a total lack of transparent selection procedures.

Since the onset, the government's approach has involved attacks against independent control and regulatory institutions, investigative bodies, and representatives of civil society and the media. While public attention is primarily drawn to the criminal policy debate, the government has also announced controversial changes in other key areas, such as limitations on transparency in public procurement, takeovers of public media, and the abolition of specialised police units dedicated to combating serious crime and corruption.

François Valérian, chair of Transparency International, said:

"The mission of a democratic government is to uphold the rule of law and defend the victims of corruption, not to make life easier to perpetrators through hastened legislative procedures. Transparency International calls on policymakers in Slovakia to stop undermining the rule of law and return to following standard democratic processes, including the adoption of legislation with public participation."

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