A fierce battle for the Constitutional Court ahead

Topical issue

A fierce battle for the Constitutional Court ahead

08. 01. 2019 14:26

A total of 40 candidates are aspiring to become judges of the Constitutional Court, which will have nine positions open as of February. Among these are former Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD), coalition MP Peter Kresák, President of the Slovak Supreme Court Daniela Švecová, the two Deputy Justice Ministers Monika Jankovska and Edita Pfundtner, and former presidential candidate and Siet party leader Radoslav Prochazka. MPs are set to elect candidates for the court's judges at its next session, scheduled to begin at the end of the month. Parliament will elect 18 candidates to be proposed to the president, who from among them will subsequently appoint nine.

The candidacy of former Prime Minister Robert Fico has triggered plenty of controversy. His candidacy was proposed by Parliament Vice-chair Martin Glvač, who believes that his party boss' experience qualifies him for the post of constitutional judge. Opposition party Ordinary People's (OLaNO) caucus head Veronika Remišová criticized the nomination. "The Constitutional Court is one of the state's most important institutions, and it would be unfortunate for Slovakia if the Constitutional Court were to become the stretched out hand of political parties," said Remišová, adding that Slovakia is not dependent on Fico-type candidates. According to the Opposition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), Fico is an absolutely inappropriate candidate for the post of constitutional judge.

The NGO Via Iuris has also questioned Fico's impartiality and independence. "The role of the Constitutional Court is to control the government's power - for example, it can abolish laws and the verdicts of other courts, or decide on the validity of an election or an indictment of the president. As a constitutional judge, Robert Fico could, for example, be in a position to assess the constitutionality of laws he himself has pushed through. This is another reason why the post of constitutional judge can't be held by a person who has long been the prime minister or the chair of a ruling political party," said the organisation.

Anyone who fulfils the statutory conditions has the right to run, junior coalition Most-Hid party told the TASR press agency in response to Fico's nomination. "Which 18 candidates will be supported by the party's MPs will be decided by the Most-Hid caucus after a public hearing of all the candidates," said Most-Hid spokesperson Klara Debnar.

Anca Dragu, Photo: TASR

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