The Slovenia Times

Janša's Fate as MP Will Be Determined Next Week


Before the debate at a plenary session, the parliamentary Credentials and Privileges Commission will be the first and possibly also last to take what will be a political decision on Janša's fate after an opinion penned by five jurists at the behest of parliament suggested parliament may revoke his MP status.

The jurists, who invoked legal provisions saying the status of deputies sentenced to six months or more in prison terminates, have given parliament several options: either they just get briefed on that and Janša's status lapses (no formal decision or voting required), or they decide that he can remain MP, which requires a special vote.

If the parliament opts for the second possibility, the MPs may decide that he proceeds to work normally, or that he cannot perform his job due to the prison sentence, in which case he would probably be succeeded by a stand-in MP for the duration of his prison sentence.

Janša and his party have been claiming that the legal provision applies only to those who are sentenced when they are already MPs, while he was sentenced to two years prior to the election and was elected despite that.

A final stance on the view of the five jurists has so far also been taken by the opposition United Left (ZL) and Alenka Bratušek Alliance (ZaAB). Both insist that they will only support a proposal that would say Janša's term is terminated.

The opinion of the jurists was solicited by the parliamentary Credentials and Privileges Commission due to different interpretations of the existing law and its applicability to Janša's case.

Interestingly, it runs contrary to the opinion of the National Assembly's in-house legal department, which said Janša's status should remain untouched.

The latest opinion was penned by three professors from the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, among them two former Constitutional Court judges, plus attorney Dino Bauk and Aleš Zalar, a former justice minister.

Parties were asked to nominate their members of the panel, but the SDS refused to do that. The party has already described the group of jurists as clearly politically biased.

Criticism was also voiced by Matevž Krivic, the renowned former Constitutional Court judge, who said the jurists were "clearly biased" and issued a decision that was a "grave disappointment" and "blatantly nonsensical".

Krivic, known as fiercely independent and often in conflict with Janša, has insisted throughout the acrimony that Janša's status should be left untouched, adding today that there were "at least five respected jurists" who disagree with the opinion submitted to parliament.

The final decision on Janša's status will in any case be political given the broad discretion that the jurists have granted the MPs.

It is widely believed Janša will seek recourse in court, as his party has said on several occasions that the Constitutional Court will have the final say on the matter if his status is revoked.


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