The Slovenia Times

Opposition challenging Palestine recognition in court

The flags of Palestine, Slovenia, the EU and NATO at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Ljubljana. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

The centre-right opposition has asked the Constitutional Court to review Slovenia's recognition of Palestine and annul it, arguing parliamentary rules of procedure were breached in the process.

The National Assembly formally enacted Palestine recognition in early June after the ruling coalition found a way to bypass a delay in the vote due to a referendum request tabled by the Democrats (SDS), the largest opposition party.

The SDS and the other opposition party, New Slovenia (NSi), who boycotted the vote, have now initiated a constitutional review of the decision, alleging unconstitutionality and abuse of parliamentary procedure.

In addition to violating the Constitution and established parliamentary practice, they accuse the ruling coalition of "authoritarian and arbitrary conduct".

Slovenia recognised Palestine on 4 June after a turbulent day of strategising in parliament.

The SDS filed a motion for a consultative referendum in an attempt to defer the vote by 30 days in line with previous parliamentary practice right after it withdrew its original request filed just a day before.

The SDS said the original proposal was "withdrawn for technical reasons" to correct the wording, but the coalition saw it as a manoeuvre to delay the recognition further.

The coalition then decided to circumvent this by reinterpreting an article of the rules of procedure and voted down the referendum request right away before proceeding to vote on Palestine.

The move was criticised by the opposition and some legal experts as abuse of parliamentary procedure.

Jurist Rajko Pirnat commented that both the coalition and the opposition acted in a disputable manner, arguing that the SDS's referendum motions on the matter were unacceptable.

The opposition party said on 3 July the violation of the rules of procedure meant that the MPs did not have the opportunity for a serious consideration of an important foreign policy issue. They expect the top court to discuss the matter as a top priority.

In their first reaction, coalition parties said they believed it would be hard for the court to uphold the opposition's application, arguing the procedure to recognise Palestine had been carried out in line with the parliamentary rules of procedure.

Slovenia and Palestine established diplomatic relations on 5 June a day after parliament endorsed the country's recognition.


More from Politics