Monday, 12 August 2019

MOST Accuses Constitutional Court President of Siding with Parliamentary Majority

ZAGREB, August 12, 2019 - A member of parliament from the opposition MOST party, Robert Podolnjak, on Monday accused Constitutional Court President Miroslav Šeparović of having sided with the parliamentary majority and the government by not stating the court's position on an opposition motion for a special parliamentary debate on a vote of no confidence in the health minister, thus making it possible for the constitutional deadline of 30 days within which the parliament must discuss such motions, to expire.

Podolnjak said this in a letter which he sent Šeparović because he believes that the Constitution was violated when a conclusion was adopted that the parliament speaker does not have to call an extraordinary parliament session when one-fifth of its members file a motion to discuss a vote of no confidence in a government member at the time when the parliament is in recess.

Podolnjak, a constitutional law professor and member of the parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System, said that the motions submitted to the Constitutional Court regarding the parliament's conclusion not to discuss the opposition's motion described the conclusion as "a significant breach of the Constitution on which the parliamentary system is based".

"The most important element is the government's political responsibility towards the parliament, both collective and individual, and it cannot be partial or random. In every moment of their work, the government, the prime minister and individual ministers answer to the parliament and the ultimate test of their political responsibility is the vote of no confidence," Podolnjak said.

Procedures regarding such a motion, envisaged by the Constitution, must be interpreted in line with that, including Article 116, Paragraph 4, which says that a debate on and a vote of no confidence must take place within 30 days at the latest from the day a motion to that effect is submitted to the parliament, claims Podolnjak.

Despite the importance of the topic in question and the 30-day deadline, the Constitutional Court did not state its position nor did the President of the Republic act on MPs' request to call an extraordinary session of the parliament, in line with her constitutional powers, Podolnjak says in the letter.

As for Šeparović's statement in which he said that the Constitutional Court acts exclusively on its own initiative and when and if it deems it necessary and would act the same way in the case of the latest motion, Podolnjak said that the motion in question was not an ordinary motion by a group of MPs but a motion by more than one-fifth of members of almost all opposition parties and all opposition members of the Constitution Committee.

Podolnjak also noted that Šeparović's response and failure to act sent wrong messages to the public - that the motion is not an important matter concerning constitutional law and that motions by opposition MPs and parties are irrelevant.

Podolnjak also said that the Constitutional Court should urgently hold a session on the Opposition's motion for an extraordinary parliamentary debate on a vote of no confidence in the health minister.

More MOST party news can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Constitutional Court President Surprised by President's Request

ZAGREB, August 10, 2019 - Constitutional Court President Miroslav Šeparović said on Friday that he was surprised by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's response to the MOST party's request to call an extraordinary session of the parliament to discuss a vote of no confidence in Health Minister Milan Kujundžić.

The Office of the President said earlier in the day that President Grabar-Kitarović would make a decision on MOST's request if the Constitutional Court ruled that conditions for such a move had been created.

"If the Constitutional Court decides that conditions have been created for the parliament speaker to call an extraordinary session of the parliament and if the parliament speaker fails to do it, the president will decide on the request for an extraordinary parliament session in line with her constitutional powers," the president's office said.

"The President does not have the authority to call on the Constitutional Court to act in line with its powers and respond to motions put forward by members of parliament but she can, in line with Article 79 Paragraph 2 of the Constitution, submit a request for an extraordinary parliament session," Šeparović told Hina.

He added that "under Article 104 of the Constitutional Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court monitors compliance with the Constitution and laws and submits reports to the parliament about cases of non-compliance with the Constitution and laws, which are formulated at sessions of the Constitutional Court."

"... in such cases, the Constitutional Court acts exclusively on its own initiative and when and if it deems it necessary. That is how it will proceed also in the case of the motion filed by a group of members of parliament," said Šeparović.

In a comment on the statement from the Office of the President, MOST said in a Facebook post that after she criticised the health minister by saying that he had not done anything in his sector for the past three years, the president "should have finally put her foot down and started practicing what she preaches."

"In a typical bureaucratic move, she has shifted responsibility onto the Constitutional Court, thus failing to exercise her presidential powers," MOST said.

Sources at the president's office said that MOST had set the course of action itself, given that it had asked the Constitutional Court for its position on the party's motion, thus opting to wait for it.

More news about the MOST party can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 9 August 2019

President Puzzlingly Asks Constitutional Court Whether She Should Call Parliament to Meet

ZAGREB, August 9, 2019 - The Office of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said in a statement on Friday that with regard to a request sent to her by the MOST party to call an extraordinary session of the parliament to discuss a vote of no confidence in Health Minister Milan Kujundžić, she would make a decision on the request if the Constitutional Court ruled that conditions for such a move had been created.

"If the Constitutional Court decides that conditions have been created for the parliament speaker to call an extraordinary session of the parliament and if the parliament speaker fails to do it, the president will decide on the request for an extraordinary parliament session in line with her constitutional powers," the president's office said.

The office noted that after the Parliament's Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System turned down MOST's request for a special parliament session to discuss a motion for a vote of no confidence in Minister Kujundžić, party whip Nikola Grmoja wrote to President Grabar-Kitarović on August 6, asking her to request the parliament speaker to call a special parliament session in line with Article 79, Paragraph 2 of the Croatian Constitution.

"... Considering that 32 members of parliament who signed the motion for a special session of the parliament have asked the Constitutional Court to submit to the parliament a report on the constitutionality and legality of the conclusion made by the Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System, the President calls on the Constitutional Court to act in line with its powers and respond to the motion filed by the parliamentary deputies on July 22," the president's office said.

More news about the Constitutional Court can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

“No One Can Be Above Constitutional Court Rulings”

ZAGREB, July 16, 2019 - The Vukovar branch of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) said on Monday that no one can be above decisions of the Constitutional Court and also criticise Mayor Ivan Penva for "collectivising the guilt of all Serbs in Vukovar" which they cannot accept.

Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava said on Sunday that dialogue and cooperation among local residents and ethnic Serbs in that eastern Croatian town was at a satisfactory level and any increase in the volume of rights of that ethnic minority would deteriorate the relations among local communities. Penava underscores that the first priority is to solve the problems caused in that town in 1991 when the area fell into the hands of Serb rebels supported by the then Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). "We cannot forget and ignore the huge injustice inflicted to us in 1991."

Penava's statement ensued after Constitutional Court President Miroslav Šeparović told a news conference this past Friday that the court recommended that the city council in Vukovar adopt changes to their statute whereby Serb councillors can ask now also orally for the delivery of documents and papers in their mother tongue and in the Cyrillic script. Currently, the request has be submitted in a written form.

The Council is given a deadline until October to make those changes and adopt other necessary decisions that will enhance the Serb minority's right to use its language and script.

Penava insists that the current state of affairs in Vukovar "has not ripened" for steps forward in any direction

The SDSS says in its latest press release that local Serbs cannot renounce their rights which they exercise in compliance with the Constitution.

We expect the implementation of our rights in accordance with laws, the local SDSS says in its press release.

On the other hand, the Croatian Conservative Party (HKS) said that any enhancement of the rights of the local Serb community in the town of Vukovar "opens a Pandoara's box".

More Vukovar news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Constitutional Court Approves Government’s Intervention in Agrokor

ZAGREB, May 8, 2018 - Expounding the Constitutional Court's ruling that the law on emergency receivership in systemically important companies, dubbed "Lex Agrokor", is in accordance with the Constitution, Court president Miroslav Šeparović said on Tuesday that, when it came to the case of the ailing private Agrokor retail and food group, the Croatian government was supposed to intervene, otherwise it would have breached the Constitution's definition of Croatia as a welfare state.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

“Lex Agrokor” Declared Constitutional

ZAGREB, May 8, 2018 - The Constitutional Court on Tuesday announced that the law on emergency receivership in systemically important companies, dubbed "Lex Agrokor", is in accordance with the Constitution.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Constitutional Court Bans Ustasha-Related Street Name?

The Constitution Court has reportedly ruled that a street cannot be named after 10 April, the anniversary of the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Largest Parties Agree on Agrokor Committee, Constitutional Court

After weeks of negotiations, HDZ and SDP will tomorrow finally vote on two critical issues.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

“So Help Me God” to Remain Part of Presidential Oath

The Constitutional Court has ruled that the line at the end of the oath is not contrary to the principle of secularity.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Raiffeisen Bank to File Constitutional Lawsuit against the State

The reason is a recently adopted law.

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