MPs fail to appoint president's nominee for constitutional judge
Although initially the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD), the Left, National Party (SNS), Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) and minority MP Felice Žiža all announced their support for Teršek, it turned out today that he only enjoyed the support of the LMŠ, SD, SAB, SMC and the Left.
SMC deputy head Janja Sluga said the party had voted in favour of Teršek as agreed despite pressure from Prime Minister Janez Janša.
The coalition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi) have been against Teršek since the start, while the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) decided to vote freely. DeSUS deputy group head Franc Jurša would not reveal how he voted or say whether DeSUS had been influenced by Janša but he did stress that the coalition remained solid all along.
This was also the point made by the opposition, with the leader of SocDem MPs, Matjaž Han, noting that if all deputy groups had voted as they announced during talks with President Pahor, Teršek would have been elected.
Matej T. Vatovec of the Left said that "Janša has obviously succeeded with his pressure and showed that he has the first and last word in this coalition".
The head of the opposition LMŠ deputy group, Brane Golubović, said that a word given publicly used to matter but this was not the case any longer.
MP Andrej Rajh of the SAB said he was sad that deputy groups had not voted as they said they would.
He said the Constitutional Court had been more or less balanced so far. "I don't know which way it will lean in the future but there are some indications that it could lean to the right. In the face of the economic crisis, this could mean more aspirations for privatisation of healthcare, education, and this makes me concerned."
One issue that seems to have averted MPs from supporting Teršek was a statement he made at a round table debate in 2011, which recently appeared on Twitter.
Teršek said at the time that the influence of the civil society needed to be enhanced and that this would only be possible if representatives of the political elite left politics.
"If they themselves do not recognise this, and of course they will not recognise this as ethical and give up power themselves, then they need to be replaced by force, if necessary. This can also be done by coming into their offices, their chambers and carrying them to the street," Teršek said at the round table.
Today, he told the press that his statement had been taken out of the context and that it was an "extremely cynical metaphor without any kind of direct message".
Some MPs also hinted today that Teršek had attended the anti-government cycling protests held on Fridays, but he denied it.
The 45-year-old Teršek, who teaches at the University of Primorska and at the European Faculty of Law in Nova Gorica, was nominated by Pahor alongside Supreme Court judge Barbara Zobec for the post that will be vacated as Dunja Jadek Pensa's nine-year term expires on 14 July, but Zobec withdrew her candidacy at the start of June.
A specialist in constitutional law, democracy, human rights, freedoms and social and philosophical aspects of law, Teršek argued when presenting his bid that poverty is unconstitutional. He ran for a Constitutional Court judge already in 2018 but withdrew his candidacy.
In his first response to the vote, he said he did not feel like a victim of political games. "The victims are the people who live on the social margins," he said.
President Pahor announced a fresh nomination procedure would be launched within 14 days. So far, all of Pahor's Constitutional Court nominees were appointed in the first round. This is also the first time that he put forward two candidates.