Vili Kovačič

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Vili Kovačič in one of the protests

Vili Kovačič (born 1941) is a Slovenian impact litigation activist and blogger, who was the first in Europe to successfully challenge a referendum result based on a campaign finance violation. His challenge resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Miro Cerar and early parliamentary elections in 2017.[1] His successful challenges to elections and referendums resulted in Constitutional Court reforming Slovenian electoral laws and practices.

In 2012, Kovačič founded an anti-corruption non-governmental organization called We Taxpayers Never Give Up (Davkoplačevalci se ne damo). One of its first projects was an attempt to block the Teš 6, one of the largest energy infrastructure projects in the country. Kovačič claimed that it would be financially flawed and it would mainly serve corruption purposes. Kovačič collected enough signatures to trigger a national referendum on the project, but the Constitutional Court blocked the referendum claiming that some signatures were ineligible or the names were not written exactly as they appeared in the official government's databases (Constitutional Court of Slovenia number U-I-268/12).[2][3]

His other projects were the removal of the statue of the communist leader Boris Kidric from the Council of Europe Park in Ljubljana, and a call for electoral system change in 2014. He was active in protests at the Supreme Court of Slovenia in 2014, in collecting of signatures on the Family Code referendum, and at the murder trial of dr. Milko Novic, who was accused of killing dr. Jamnik, the director of Chemical Institute of Ljubljana, where the daughter of Boris Kidric is employed.[1] He or the We Taxpayers Never Give up association regularly inform international organisations about corruption issues in Slovenia.[1]

In 2017, Kovacic collected 4500 signatures and triggered a referendum procedure on a railway project between Divača and Koper, called "Drugi tir".[4] and in a second stage of the procedure he collected over 48.000 notarised signatures, which resulted in a referendum.[5] The National Assembly called a referendum on 24 September 2017, and Kovačič challenged the choice of the date at the Constitutional Court, arguing that for financial reasons and for the facilitation of voting the referendum should be held together with presidential elections, which were scheduled in October 2017. The Constitutional Court rejected his appeal by seven votes to two.[6]

In August 2017 he appealed to the Constitutional Court claiming that the Government of Slovenia violates Council of Europe rules on referendum financing established by the Code of Good Practices in Referendum Matters. He argued that the government should not be allowed to spend state budget funds only for the "yes" vote and not for the "no" vote.[7]

The Constitutional Court ruled that he should first challenge the referendum results at the Supreme Court and then return to the Constitutional Court if unsuccessful.[8] Kovacic challenged the referendum results at the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court paused the proceedings and returned it to the Constitutional Court.[9][10]

In January 2018 the Constitutional Court annulled some partis of the referendum legislation and ordered the Supreme Court to assess the severity of the referendum rules' violations, and if these violations could affect the referendum outcome, to annule the referendum results.[11] Professor Jurij Toplak wrote appeals to the Constitutional Court and to the Supreme Court for Kovačič.

On 14 March 2018, the Supreme Court held its first public hearing since the independence of Slovenia, in which Kovacic questioned prime minister Miro Cerar. On the same day the Supreme Court annulled the referendum results and a few hours later prime minister Cerar resigned.

In 2018, Kovačič challenged local elections results in Ljubljana due to alleged campaign finance and electoral corruption violations by mayor Zoran Janković. He requested a public hearing at the Administrative Court, but the court rejected his appeal without holding a hearing. Kovačič appealed to the Constitutional Court and succeeded. In June 2019, the court ruled that the Administrative Court violated Kovačič's rights by not holding a hearing. It ordered that within 30 days, the Administrative Court had to hold a public hearing and if violations are found, the composition of the city council should be changed or new elections should be held.[12] As of 2019, the Administrative Court still had not held a public hearing and Kovačič informed international organisations about alleged violations of international electoral norms.[13] On October 11, 2019, Kovačič informed OSCE, ODIHR, the Council of Europe, the Venice Commission, and Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) about the judicial delay and alleged judicial misconduct, and asked them to intervene or assist.[14]

Kovačič informs the public about his activities in his online blog drzavljank.si .[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Vili Kovačič vs. Viktor Orban | Dnevnik". www.dnevnik.si. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  2. ^ "STA: Ustavno sodišče zavrnilo pobudo glede referenduma o poroštvu za Teš 6".
  3. ^ "Sklep Ustavnega sodišča U-I-268/12".
  4. ^ "Bo podpisov za referendum o 2. tiru dovolj? Vlada gre s projektom naprej".
  5. ^ "Kovačič v DZ vložil več kot 48.000 podpisov za razpis referenduma o zakonu o drugem tiru". STA. June 27, 2017.
  6. ^ "Sklep U-I-108/17 z dne 21. 7. 2017". Ustavno sodišče RS. July 21, 2017.
  7. ^ "Neenaki: Cerarjevi sebi dali 97 tisocakov, tistim ki menijo drugace ne dajo". Slovenske novice. August 8, 2017.
  8. ^ "Odločitve US". odlocitve.us-rs.si (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  9. ^ "Vrhovno sodišče RS. VSRS zahtevalo ustavno presojo zaradi varstva pravice do glasovanja na referendumu". www.sodisce.si (in Slovenian). December 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  10. ^ "Vrhovno sodišče v ustavno presojo poslalo zakon o referendumu". Prvi interaktivni multimedijski portal, MMC RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  11. ^ "Odločba Ustavnega sodišča št. U-I-191/17" (PDF). Ustavno sodišče RS. January 25, 2018.
  12. ^ "Odločba Ustavnega sodišča št. Up-135/19". odlocitve.us-rs.si. Ustavno sodišče RS. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  13. ^ Jančič, Peter. "Protest Grecu, Ovse, Beneški komisiji, ker sodišča ne sodijo v volilnih sporih - Spletni časopis". spletnicasopis.eu. Spletni časopis. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  14. ^ "STA: Pensioner complains to European institutions about lengthy electoral disputes". english.sta.si. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  15. ^ Kovačič, Vili. "Blog Vili Kovačič". Publishwall:.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)

See also[edit]