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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The achievements of Golob’s coalition – Part 5

By: Dr Vinko Gorenak

To begin with, I should mention that some readers have called me and cautioned me not to criticise people in Golob’s coalition anymore, claiming that after the floods, there are different times when Golob and Janša understand each other. I will not heed their advice; I will continue to write about facts, and readers and editors can judge how and what. Let’s continue with the achievements of Golob’s coalition.

To begin with, here are some quotes from the “Programme for the Work of the Coalition 2022–2026”, which is the programme of the Golob’s coalition. This is what they stated: “Decisions of the Constitutional Court must be implemented as quickly as possible, regardless of whether we agree with the content of the constitutional decision or not … We want the President of the Republic to take over the appointment of judges on the proposal of the Judicial Council … Systematically involve civil society in decision-making processes …”

Let’s continue analysing the achievements of Golob’s coalition in this area. Regarding the implementation of constitutional decisions, this can be verified in the “Report on the Work of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia for the Year 2022”. They stated the following: “The Constitutional Court has repeatedly warned in its decisions that failure to respond to the Constitutional Court’s decision within a reasonable time constitutes a serious violation of the principles of the rule of law and the separation of powers. At the end of the year 2022, there were still twenty-eight decisions of the Constitutional Court that were not respected, of which twenty-six relate to statutory provisions and two to regulations of local communities. In comparison with previous years, the situation regarding the respect of the Constitutional Court’s decisions has worsened, as there were twenty-three unimplemented decisions at the end of 2021, and eighteen at the end of 2020.”

What they wrote in Golob’s coalition appears to be merely rhetoric and empty words on paper. I cannot argue that the third Janša’s government was particularly successful in this area, but with 38 votes out of the necessary 46, at least one miracle was achieved in this field. We managed to implement the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia, which had previously declared the law on the determination of electoral districts for the election of members of the National Assembly unconstitutional. Golob’s coalition has 53 votes, and in a single session of the National Assembly, they could resolve all 26 such cases, as two of them fall under the jurisdiction of local communities. Furthermore, the “lamenting” of the Constitutional Court is not justified, as they could take care of the implementation of their decisions themselves. A good example of this is the municipality of Ankaran, which the Constitutional Court established after multiple rejections by the National Assembly.

In Golob’s coalition, they express a “desire” for the President of the country to appoint judges, although without specifying any deadlines. It should be noted that the appointment of judges in the National Assembly (DZ) is a remnant of the socialist era. In developed democracies, judges are appointed by presidents, kings, judicial bodies themselves, and others, but almost nowhere does the legislative branch of government have this authority. On the surface, this might seem uncontroversial and self-evident, assuming that our judiciary operates truly autonomously, independently, and most importantly, impartially. The appointment of judges in the National Assembly is, in most cases, a routine process that is approved by a majority vote in favour. The rare exceptions are cases where the National Assembly does not confirm the proposed candidates for judges. I can recall only three such instances among hundreds of judge appointments.

To transfer the authority to appoint judges from the National Assembly to the President of the country would require an amendment to the constitution and the support of 60 Members of Parliament, which Golob’s coalition does not have. This support could only be provided by the NSi party, as the SDS opposes the proposed solution. Given the predominantly left-leaning political consensus in the Judicial Council and a president with a strong left-leaning bias, it is clear who would likely become a judge if this change were to happen. However, even if this change were implemented, it may not be a fatal issue for the country. More significant could be the cooperation between NSi and Golob’s coalition on the electoral system.

The third statement in the “Programme for the Work of the Coalition 2022–2026”, which pertains to “systematic inclusion of civil society in decision-making processes”, could indeed be expressed differently in Golob’s coalition, for example: “We will generously reward the civil society that brought us to power.” This could be considered a more straightforward statement. Civil society is typically non-party and collaborates with all authorities, focusing on general societal issues. In Slovenia, this includes organisations like firefighters, the Red Cross, Caritas, and others. However, in Golob’s coalition, it seems that they had in mind not these organisations but rather certain civil society organisations that are closely aligned with left-leaning politics and were actively involved in protests against the previous government led by Janez Janša, even before that government took office. These protests continued throughout the entire mandate of that government. Today, these organisations are notably silent and have almost no criticisms of the work of Golob’s coalition. You may wonder why. The answer is clear: it involves millions and millions of funds flowing gratefully from Golob’s coalition. To be continued.


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