MP: Constitutional Court Shouldn't be Abolished, but Appointment Criteria Should be Changed

By 17 May 2022
MP: Constitutional Court Shouldn't be Abolished, but Appointment Criteria Should be Changed

ZAGREB, 17 May 2022 - MP Sandra Benčić (Green-Left Bloc) said on Tuesday there was no need to abolish the Constitutional Court but that the criteria for the appointment of its judges need to be changed because their decision on Monday is "legal nonsense that will be used as an example for law students".

"The Constitutional Court should not be abolished because it has had some good decisions, however, the criteria for the appointment of Constitutional Court judges should be changed. The Constitutional Court's reasoning behind the decision on the initiative 'Let's decide together' will be used as an example of poor practice for future students," Benčić said.

She was commenting on the Constitutional Court's conclusion that the questions in two referendum petitions launched by the opposition Bridge party - on abolishment of mandatory COVID passes and the transfer of the powers of the national COVID response team to Parliament - were not in line with the Constitution, and President Zoran Milanović's comment that the court should be abolished.

As for Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's request to Attorney General Zlata Hrvoj Šipek regarding Milanović's calling out Defence Minister Mario Banožić and calling on Hrvoj Šipek to launch an investigation against Banožić, Benčić said: "We are not talking about interfering in the work of the attorney general here but about leading the Office of the Attorney General (DORH)."

Plenković on Monday said that he had "asked DORH, as an independent judicial institution, to not listen to political incitement to action, as it goes against all the principles of the separation of powers".

Radimir Čačić, leader of the Reformists, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, and the opposition Bridge party today sharply criticised Plenković's request.

Commenting on a statement by President Milanović that "Banožić should be put in prison", Benčić said that no one at the head of any institution that can influence any decision making should be calling for anyone's arrest but that the prime minister's role is not the same as that of the president, who has no powers whatsoever.