Bratislava, September 25 (TASR) – Parliament on Wednesday managed to elect the remaining four candidates for Constitutional Court judges in a fifth vote: Ladislav Dudits, Libor Dula, Peter Melicher and Peter Straka.
This means that President Zuzana Caputova is now free to staff the Constitutional Court fully.
The vote took place under a pall of disagreement within the coalition, as Smer-SD again proposed holding the vote as a secret ballot. This motion was rejected, however, and Parliament held a public vote instead. The other coalition parties, Most-Hid and the Slovak National Party (SNS), recently made statements advocating a public vote.
A public vote was necessary in order to have a successful election of Constitutional Court judge candidates, coalition Most-Hid party chair Bela Bugar stated in the parliamentary chamber after the vote on Wednesday.
“Finally, it worked. We have all candidates for the Constitutional Court judges elected, thank God. This longstanding effort has met with success at last, but in order for that to happen it was necessary for Most-Hid to say unequivocally that there must be a public vote because only a public vote could ensure that everyone observed the agreement,” Bugar told reporters.
Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) welcomed the election of the remaining candidates for Constitutional Court judges by Parliament at long last and voiced hope that the Court can be fully staffed in no time.
President Zuzana Caputova received the news that Parliament has elected the full complement of Constitutional Court judges with delight and declared that she will appoint the six remaining justices to the bench without delay. Recognising the utmost urgency of the matter, the president will deal with the appointments as soon as she returns home from the UN General Assembly session in New York, added Caputova’s spokesman Martin Strizinec.
Nine vacancies arose at the Constitutional Court in February. Parliament was expected to elect twice the number of candidates – 18, from which the president would appoint nine judges.
Then-president Andrej Kiska (2014-19) appointed some judges, which is why the Constitutional Court is currently staffed with seven out of the total of 13. Incumbent President Zuzana Caputova declared that she would appoint the rest only when supplied with the full complement of candidates.