The Slovenia Times

Janez Janša Stripped of MP Status


Janša was stripped of his term on the basis of the deputies act, which stipulates that the term of an MP sentenced for more than six months in prison shall be terminated unless otherwise decided by the National Assembly.

The vote at the emergency session ended weeks of debate on whether Janša is entitled to his seat, after he was elected from prison in the 13 July early general election. He started serving the two-year sentence over the Patria bribery case on 20 June.

The rejection of the decree of the commission saying that Janša can keep his seat despite the prison term paved the way for the National Assembly to formally establish that Janša's term terminates automatically.

The SDS has already announced it will challenge any attempt to strip their leader of his seat in parliament at the Constitutional Court. It has also said it would petition the European Court of Human Rights if needed.

The party maintains that ending Janša's term has no legal basis, with deputy group leader Jože Tanko saying that today's session was merely a continuation of the coalition's attack on Janša based on the abuse of the Constitution and law.

Tanko labelled the vote as the first project of the coalition led by the Party of Miro Cerar (SMC), pointing to the opinion of the parliamentary legal service, which said stripping Janša of his status could be constitutionally problematic.

His party colleague Branko Grims assessed that this is a severe and conscious violation of human rights and freedoms, and said he expected everyone who voted against Janša's term to step down if the Constitutional Court rejects the decision.

SMC deputy group head Simona Kustec Lipicer meanwhile noted that a term of an MP should officially terminate if there are health, professional, criminal or personal reasons because of which deputies are no longer able to represent people and the state.

She added that it is "important that the further democratic, legal and morally responsible development of our country is managed responsibly, respectfully and honourably and for the common good of all of us".

Franc Jurša of the coalition Pensioner's Party (DeSUS) noted that the deputies act clearly stipulates that a term of an MP ends is he or she is sentenced to more than than six months in prison.

Announcing that DeSUS deputies will unanimously vote for the termination of Janša's term, he said that it is not important whether the sentence became final before or after the MP term has started.

Jurša added that, given the varying legal opinions on the matter, it would be right that the Constitutional Court rules about Janša's case as soon as possible and say whether the stripping of his term is constitutional or not.

The coalition Social Democrats (SD) also believe that a person serving a prison sentence longer than six months cannot perform the duty of an MP. According to SD deputy group head Matjaž Han, an imprisoned MP cannot fully perform the job.

He added that deputies have the obligation to change the legislation accordingly in order to prevent similar cases from happening in the future.

Presenting the opinion of the opposition United Left (ZL) deputy group, MP Matjaž Hanžek said that Janša's case meets the requirement from the deputies act which speaks about termination of status in case of a prison sentence.

According to him, the ZL finds the legislation clear and thinks that there are no differences between MPs who were sentenced to prison before the start of the term and those who were sentenced as MPs.

While stressing that the decision of the National Assembly is political, he added that it is an important message to voters about the ethical stance of parliament, adding that this act will help regain people's trust in politics.

Jani Möderndorfer of the opposition Alenka Bratušek Alliance (ZaAB) said that Janša should have been stripped of his term already when the parliament was inaugurated on 2 August. He added however that it is right that the Constitutional Court has the final say about the matter.

According to Möderndorfer, today's debate has clearly shown that the government must find a systemic solution for the question of who can perform an MP term and under what conditions.

The opposition New Slovenia (NSi), whose deputies did not participate in the debate, meanwhile argued that Janša should not be stripped of his MP status because the legislative provisions are too vague.

Janša did not attend the session, with a sign saying "Janez Janša, a political prisoner" being put on the desk in front of his seat in parliament. Before the vote was taken, SDS deputies staged a walkout.

The four NSi deputies and representatives of the Italian and Hungarian minorities provided the votes for Janša, while other MPs voted for his term to end.

Around 500 supporters of Janša meanwhile gathered in front of the National Assembly building after holding another rally before the Supreme Court.

Rallies demanding Janša's release, organised by the Committee 2014, have been taking place daily in front of he court ever since Janša went to prison.


More from Nekategorizirano