“The response from the Venice Commission isn’t, unfortunately, strong enough input to resolve the impasse surrounding the appointments of Constitutional Court judges once and for all,” president’s spokesperson Roman Krpelan said. “Despite this, President Andrej Kiska respects the stance arrived at by the Venice Commission and stands ready as president to act in accordance with his promise.”
Since 2014, Kiska has appointed only one judge (Jana Baricová) to fill CC vacancies out of six candidates presented by parliament, claiming that the remaining five do not seem to be genuinely and deeply interested in constitutional law and that they also lacked what he deemed the necessary skills. Two spots thus remained unoccupied, while another one – of the 13-member CC plenum – became vacant in February 2016, the TASR newswire wrote.
Parliament proposed two candidates – Mojmír Mamojka and Jana Laššáková – but the president refused to appoint either of them. A dispute arose as to whether or not the president was entitled under the Constitution to such a course of action, with the Constitutional Court deciding that Kiska violated the rights of the complaining candidates. The head of state called the verdict of the CC internally incongruent.
Kiska then turned to the Venice Commission for an impartial opinion. It recommended that the president respect the Constitutional Court ruling. Kiska has been refusing to appoint judges and fill vacancies for nearly three years, the Sme daily wrote on March 13.
The Venice Commission adopted a stance that does not directly answer Kiska’s inquiries, according to TASR, while also stating that it cannot assume the role of international arbiter and does not intend to interfere in the process within Slovakia.
The response of the Venice Commission is not a strong enough statement to solve the stalemate once and for all, Krpelan said. He added, as quoted by Sme, that the president respects the statement, though, and is ready to act as he promised. As soon as the current proceeding at the Constitutional Court is finished, he will decide on the appointments.