Washington, 6 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. State Department has condemned a decision by the Slovak parliament not to reinstate an elected member to his seat in the assembly.
Spokesman James Foley said in a statement released Thursday night that the action was a serious step backward in Slovakia's democratic development. He said the parliament's vote earlier this week upholding last December's expulsion of Frantisek Gaulieder failed to honor a later ruling of the Constitutional Court in his favor.
Foley said the vote demonstrates a lack of commitment to the rule of law and to the constitutional rights of Slovak citizens.
He said that as a member of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Slovakia is pledged to respect the human rights of its citizens and the rule of law. These are not only internal concerns, he said.
Foley noted that failure to respect the rule of law will hinder Slovakia's participation in the western institutions it aspires to join.
A similar condemnation was issued separately by the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, a body established by the U.S. Congress to monitor human rights.