Rok Svetlič elected Constitutional Court judge

Ljubljana – The National Assembly appointed Rok Svetlič a judge on the Constitutional Court for a nine-year term in a secret ballot on Wednesday. Svetlič received 46 votes, the minimum required to get appointed, after only 46 MPs in the 90-strong legislature picked up their ballots and all voted for him. The new judge has already been sworn in.

This was the fourth attempt to appoint a replacement for Dunja Jadek Pensa, whose term expired in July 2020 but who has stayed on until her successor was appointed.

Svetlič thanked the MPs for their support. He stressed he will do all in his power to for every singe person, especially those at the bottom rungs of the social ladder, who are without any economic power, to believe that they have a reliable parter in Slovenian law.

Svetlič, a 48-year-old associate professor of philosophy of law, had been nominated by President Borut Pahor, who assessed he could garner enough support in parliament.

However, Svetlič’s bid became uncertain following an allegation that he suggested shooting migrants as the state’s last resort in a 2020 debate on migration, something that he has denied in the strongest terms.

The MPs of the centre-left opposition LMŠ, SD, Left and SAB announced before the vote they would not support Svetlič, questioning his credentials for the job.

The deputy group of unaffiliated MPs meanwhile explicitly said it would not pick the ballots, arguing they would like to have “better-quality candidates” to vote on.

Coalition parties have only 38 MPs in parliament, but the opposition National Party (SNS), Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) and both minority MPs often support government proposals.

Parliament was scheduled to vote on Svetlič already in October, but the vote was postponed as the centre-left opposition walked out of the plenary to show the ruling coalition did not have a majority in parliament.

Svetlič teaches at two private Slovenian law schools, the Alma Mater Europaea and the European Law School, and is the chair of the Legal Institute at the Science and Research Centre Koper.