Head of the Supreme Court and Judicial Council, Stefan Harabin, regarded by many as controversial, will not be continuing in the post after he failed to get sufficient support in the Judicial Council vote yesterday.
Harabin will therefore now be giving up the helm of the judiciary in Slovakia, one he has held for ten years, with a break. The vote took place in the far-flung town of Sobrance in the Kosice region, accompanied by anti- Harabin activists from the Fair Play Alliance bearing a large banner saying simply “Stop Harabin!”
Harabin failed to get the necessary ten votes, receiving only 7 in round one then 6 in round two, with the support of certain members of the Judicial Council who were nominated by the governing Smer-SD party. The other two candidates, judge Jana Bajankova and Zuzana Durisova also didn’t receive enough votes.
Bajankova was nominated by justice minister Tomas Borec, while Dusirova was a candidate of the so-called For an Open Judiciary (ZOJ) platform. A new election date will be set within the next 120 days, by which time Stefan Harbin will be out of office and not able to run again. That realisation was met with applause from the gallery.
President-elect Andrej Kiska became involved in the election by speaking out publicly against Harabin, announcing also as soon as he was victorious over PM Robert Fico that he would never elect Harabin to the post of chairman. Kiska will possess the power to replace three members of the Judicial Council, which could put a whole new twist on the future of Slovakia’s ailing judiciary. Kiska even wrote on Facebook that “I really appreciate all those who did not remain silent and by their activity contributed to stopping the judiciary from sleeping in an era when it is one of the causes of the huge mistrust of people in the running of the State”.