Coalition Urges Kiska to Appoint Constitutional Judges Promptly

Slovak President Andrej Kiska (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, March 13 (TASR) – President Andrej Kiska has grossly violated the Constitution by failing to respect the Constitutional Court’s opinion, and based on the recommendations of the Venice Commission he has no right not to appoint Constitutional Court judges, stated Prime Minister and Smer-SD party leader Robert Fico after the Coalition Council session on Monday.

The coalition calls on the head of state to appoint the constitutional judges immediately. “Because every day that he doesn’t take action he’ll grossly violate the Constitution,” said Fico.

“We have a resolution of the Venice Commission, and it’s high time for the president and his office to stop blocking the Constitutional Court any further,” added Parliamentary Chairman and Slovak National Party (SNS) leader Andrej Danko, noting that he’d asked Kiska to reconsider his decision not to appoint candidates presented to him by Parliament.

The Venice Commission adopted a stance that doesn’t directly answer Kiska’s inquiries, but recommended that he should respect the majority opinion of the Constitutional Court, press department head of Kiska’s office Roman Krpelan told TASR on Friday (March 10). The Venice Commission also stated that it can’t assume the role of international arbiter and doesn’t intend to interfere in the process in Slovakia. Nonetheless, Krpelan stated that Kiska will respect the stance of the Venice Commission.

The EU Council’s advisory body further recommended that in the future the president or his/her representatives should have the opportunity to participate actively in the process of assessing candidates for constitutional judges in Parliament.

The 13-member plenum of the Constitutional Court lacks three members at the moment following Kiska’s decision in 2014 to appoint only one judge (Jana Baricova) out of six candidates presented by Parliament, claiming that the remaining five didn’t seem to be genuinely and deeply interested in constitutional law and were also lacking what he deemed the necessary skills. Two spots thus remained unoccupied, while another one became vacant in February 2016. Parliament proposed two candidates to fill it – Mojmir Mamojka and Jana Lassakova – but Kiska also refused to appoint them. A dispute arose as to whether or not the president was entitled under the Constitution to such a course of action, with the Constitutional Court deciding that Kiska violated the rights of candidates that complained.