peđa grbin.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Denis CERIĆ /dc

A session of the parliamentary committee on the Constitution, which was to have defined a list of 10 nominees for Constitutional Court judges before putting their nominations to the vote on Friday, was again postponed on Wednesday, this time at the request of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP), after it was adjourned on Monday at the request of some other parliamentary clubs.

Explaining the SDP's request, its parliamentarian Pedja Grbin said that after months of talks with the ruling majority, the SDP was given a list of nominees this morning containing the names of candidates favoured by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

We have some doubts about the list and therefore we asked for adjourning the session, Grbin said.

HDZ MP Drazen Bosnjakovic agreed with the SDP suggestion. He, however, believes that agreement would be reached in time to enable the Constitutional Court to have the necessary quorum after 7 June.

The Croatian parliament will vote on the appointment of new Constitutional Court judges by a show of hands. The voting will be public after the above-mentioned committee shortlists 10 candidates and appointment will require two-thirds majority support, or the support of 101 MPs.

Since 2008, Constitutional Court judges have been appointed by secret ballot. This method, however, turned out to be an insurmountable obstacle after the constitutional amendments of 2010 introduced a rule under which Constitutional Court judges were to be appointed by a two-thirds majority of all elected MPs.

A secret ballot was last held in July 2015 when Parliament was to choose two of three candidates for the posts of Constitutional Court judges, but none of the candidates received the required 101 votes.

Since the start of the year, the Court has been operating with 10 judges instead of the 13 required by law.

Another four judges are set to leave on June 7. If new judges are not appointed in time, the Constitutional Court will not have a quorum to make decisions, which would result in a constitutional crisis considering that the Court, among other things, oversees the constitutionality of election processes and proclaims final election results.

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