Slovakian President Clashes with Government Over Anti-Graft Prosecutor Abolition

Slovakia's President Zuzana Caputova has launched a legal challenge against a controversial new law that abolishes the country's specialized anti-graft prosecutor's office, raising concerns about the rule of law and potentially derailing the nation's pro-Western course.

The legislation, fast-tracked through parliament by the ruling coalition, eliminates the independent body tasked with handling major corruption, organized crime, and extremism cases. Critics warn the move weakens the fight against graft and could put Slovakia on a worrying path similar to Hungary under Viktor Orbán's leadership.

President Caputova has filed a challenge with the Constitutional Court, seeking to block the law's implementation and arguing it jeopardizes the rule of law and da ages Slovakian society. This follows weeks of nationwide protests, with thousands taking to the streets in disapproval of the legislation.

The new law transfers anti-graft cases to regional prosecutors, raising concerns about their capacity and experience in handling such complex matters. Additionally, it reduces punishments for corruption and other crimes, potentially emboldening offenders.

The international community has also expressed alarm. The European Parliament has questioned Slovakia's commitment to fighting corruption, while the European Public Prosecutor's Office warns the reforms threaten the protection of EU financial interests.

Several individuals within the ruling party, including lawmakers, face prosecution in corruption cases. Prime Minister Robert Fico, whose party relies on support from a pro-Russian ultranationalist group, has faced accusations of using the legislation to protect his allies.

Fico, a vocal critic of Ukraine and proponent of closer ties with Russia, returned to power last year. His government's actions have sparked fears that Slovakia could abandon its pro-Western foreign policy, aligning itself more closely with Orbán's increasingly authoritarian Hungary.

The president's legal challenge sets the stage for a pivotal confrontation between the government and its critics. If the court upholds Caputova's arguments, it could significantly disrupt the ruling coalition's agenda and force a potential rethink of the controversial reforms. The coming months will be crucial in determining whether Slovakia maintains its commitment to the rule of law and a pro-Western path, or succumbs to pressures that could fundamentally alter its future direction.