Pahor tests support for candidates for C-bank, top court

Ljubljana – After consulting heads of parliamentary factions, President Borut Pahor has narrowed down the list of candidates for consideration to put forward to the National Assembly in a renewed attempt to fill a vacancy on the governing board of the central bank and one on the Constitutional Court.

According to a press release issued by his office, Pahor has decided to nominate Tina Žumer for a Banka Slovenije vice-governor should consultations at the end of next week show she enjoys sufficient majority.

Tina Žumer, is a former employee of Banka Slovenije who now works at the European Central Bank.

She is one of the seven applicants to have applied for the post in a repeat call after Pahor’s previous pick, Arjana Brezigar Masten, failed to win an outright majority in the National Assembly to get appointed in October 2020.

The post became available after Marko Bošnjak stepped down as vice-governor in May 2020 due to tax avoidance.

Visiting the National Assembly on Thursday, Pahor also presented to deputy groups Sebastian Nerad and Zlatan Dežman as potential candidates for a Constitutional Court judge, on top of the five candidates who applied in the latest call for applications.

Nerad currently serves as secretary-general of the Constitutional Court. Dežman is a higher judge.

Pahor is planning to formally nominate a candidate for Constitutional Court judge in April.

It will be the third attempt to fill the post vacated by Dunja Jadek Pensa, whose nine-year term on the court expired in July 2020, after two of Pahor’s nominees failed to muster the needed outright majority in parliament.

Meanwhile, the president is intending to put forward a candidate for a judge on the EU Court in Luxembourg in May.

Deputy faction leaders were reserved in their comments as the talks are still in an early phase. Most deputy groups are yet to talk the candidates through and make their decision in time for the voting in parliament.

However, Jožef Horvat of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) did say that Žumer was one of their favourites for the central bank post, and Matej T. Vatovec of the opposition Left said that earlier consultations had shown most factions would support Žumer.

As for the Constitutional Court, Vatovec indicated that a further candidate could be searched for, while Zmago Jelinčič, the leader of the opposition National Party (SNS) ruled out support for Nerad but said the party would consider backing Dežman.

Pahor usually holds consultations with faction leaders at the Presidential Palace but this time he made an exception by visiting them in the National Assembly in what his office says was a show of gratitude for their cooperation in key nominations.

Pahor also met National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič.