The Slovak president is relatively weak. Siaroff (in EJPR, 2003) gives the institution a score 1/9 (and that for direct election). Krouwel (in Acta Politica, 2003) gives the presidency a score of 2.5, just above Slovenia and less than Bulgaria and Lithuania. However, recently, President Ivan Gašparovič has been flexing his institutional muscles.
Art. 102 (1) o of the Slovak Constitution states that the president: “can return to the National Council of the Slovak Republic any laws with comments within 15 days after their approval”.
Art. 95 (2) states: “If the President of the Slovak Republic returns a law with comments, the National Council of the Slovak Republic will discuss the constitutional, or other law again and, in the event of its approval, such a law must be promulgated.”
So, the president may veto a bill, but parliament may override the veto with a simple majority.
Anyway, President Gašparovič has become an active vetoer in recent times. On the basis of a search of the Slovak Spectator, I identified the following:
23 December: the president vetoed the Judges and Judicial Assistants Act. Parliament overturned the veto on 2 February.
17 December 2010: the president vetoed part of a finance bill that changed various taxes. Parliament overturned the veto on 21 December.
15 December 2010: the president vetoed the law merging Slovak Television (STV) and Slovak Radio (SRo). Parliament overturned the veto. In fact, President Gašparovič refused to sign the law after it had been passed for the second time. In this event, though, the bill still becomes law.
4 November 2010: the president vetoed an amendment to the Judicial Council Act. Parliament overturned the veto.
26 August 2010: the president vetoed an amendment to the General Administration Act relating to the Environment Ministry. Parliament overturned the veto.
There were also vetoes earlier in the year.
There are some figures on the website of the Slovak parliament, suggesting that a presidential veto is relatively common. For example, there seem to have been 28 vetoes in the 2002-2006 legislature.
Slovakia is currently experiencing a period of what might be called ‘phoney-cohabitation’. Technically, President Gašparovič is a member of the Movement for Democracy (Hnutie za demokraciu – HZD). He was elected in 2004. However, at the June 2006 legislative election, the HZD won just 0.6% of the vote and had no parliamentary representation. As far as I can tell, the party did not compete in the 2010 legislative election. In the 2009 presidential election Gašparovič was supported by the now opposition Smer and SNS parties.
So, President Gašparovič has a party affiliation and his party is not in government. Therefore, there would seem to be a period of cohabitation. However, the fact that his party does not seem to exist in the usual sense of political competition makes the Slovakian case of cohabitation somewhat unusual.