THE RULING Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) has proposed Justice Minister Štefan Harabin as a candidate for the post of Slovak Constitutional Court justice. Harabin was nominated to his ministerial post by the HZDS only a few months ago.
According to HZDS Deputy Chairman Milan Urbáni, Harabin's nomination to the Constitutional Court does not mean that the party is unhappy with him as a minister - "on the contrary, it is an honour for him".
The election term of a Constitutional Court justice is 12 years.
Harabin, who served as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1998 to 2002, has opposed judicial reform in Slovakia, and is regarded as a member of the 'old guard' in the judiciary.
"It is an honour for Harabin, yet we must ask what his election would mean for the Constitutional Court," said political analyst Grigorij Mesežnikov.
Should the parliament elect Harabin as among 18 candidates for 9 Constitutional Court posts that fall vacant in January next year, he must still be selected as among the 9 new Court justices by President Ivan Gašparovič.
If that happens, however, the HZDS has a chance to gain the post of chief justice of the Constitutional Court if the president concurs. This would give the party considerable influence over the overall direction of Slovak society for the next decade.
- Martina Jurinová