Highest Slovenian Court dismisses motion to ban opposition parties

With six to three judges favouring the dismissal, the court held that political parties must be free to frame their programmes and how they choose to influence political discourse, whereby the state had to refrain from intervening. [Shutterstock/nampix]

The Slovenian Constitutional Court has dismissed a petition to ban two leftist opposition parties because they failed to denounce communism, a ruling that came just before the official start of the general election campaign.

With six to three judges favouring the dismissal, the court held that political parties must be free to frame their programmes and how they choose to influence political discourse, whereby the state had to refrain from intervening. In a decision released Wednesday (23 March), it was held that banning political parties could only be “a last resort”.

The petition against the Left and the Social Democrats was brought by Vili Kovačič, a well-known activist who successfully staged two referendums in 2017 and 2018, and Luka Perš, a former reporter of the pro-government Nova24TV.

They claimed that the Left’s programme, since changed, was unconstitutional for advocating transferring the ownership of companies to the state and local communities. They also reproached the SD for being successors to “the criminal Communists’ League” and for “glorifying totalitarianism”

But while they petitioned the court as citizens, they were vocally egged on by prominent figures on the right, empowered by a recent European Court of Human Rights ruling banning the Romanian Communist Party.

The two parties denounced the petition as an attempt to undermine them ahead of the election.

“I’m glad the Constitutional Court recognised the intention of the petitioners: it said one needs to be mindful of the abuse of the law to exclude opponents from the election race or from political life in general,” Left leader Luka Mesec said.

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