VIA IURIS urges the MPs to elect all 18 candidates for constitutional judges in a public vote
VIA IURIS has called upon all MPs to approach the election of candidates responsibly and to select from the nominated candidates for constitutional judges all 18 candidates, from which the president could subsequently appoint nine constitutional judges. VIA IURIS also pointed out that the law implies that candidates for constitutional judges should be elected in a public vote. Although MPs may decide to vote in a secret ballot, VIA IURIS urges them to vote publicly for candidates as prescribed by law.
‘In a democracy, MPs should be accountable to citizens who elected them. Therefore, citizens must know, especially in such serious matters as is the election of constitutional judges for 12 years, to whom individual MPs gave their votes. Otherwise, there is a risk that inadequate candidates will be elected in a secret ballot and citizens will not know which members have elected them, ”said Kristína Babiaková, VIA IURIS lawyer.
According to the law, Parliament should propose twice as many candidates for vacancies at the Constitutional Court and repeat the election until it elects the necessary number of candidates. Since the mandates of nine Constitutional Court judges terminates in February, MPs must select 18 candidates. VIA IURIS is convinced that it is feasible to elect 18 candidates for constitutional judges from the pool of nominations. Therefore, we urge the MPs to act responsibly at the upcoming session and to select all 18 candidates for constitutional judges.
Parliament is one of the key players in the selection of constitutional judges, and MPs must manage to conduct the election in such a way that the Constitutional Court is fully functional and maintained. Typically, there are 13 judges on the bench of the Constitutional Court, and the court can only be fully operational if all the judges are appointed.
With only ten judges in the Constitutional Court, the plenary repeatedly failed to decide on any matters as the required seven votes were not found. For example, the Constitutional Court was not able to determine whether laws were unconstitutional or not. “If the number of candidates other than 18 was elected based on a possible political tactic, the Constitutional Court would not be able to protect citizens’ rights fully, and this could even render it inoperable. In this respect, we are convinced that an intentional, politically motivated election of fewer than 18 candidates will negatively affect the efficiency of the Constitutional Court,” explained Peter Wilfling, a lawyer at VIA IURIS
Deliberations regarding the selection of candidates start on 30 January, followed by the election of candidates by 31 January.