After 25 Year, Are Provisions of our Constitution Still Being Exercised?

Foto: STA

Slovenians cherish 23 December for two reasons. On this day in 1990, we had a plebiscite in which the majority of the Slovenian population voted for the independence of our country. The same day one year later, another historic event took place in the process of gaining independence when the Constitutional Court declared 23 December be the Constitution Day. Thus, the passing of the first Slovenian Constitution also marked the gaining of full legal independence. Due to that, we have been celebrating 23 December as the Slovenian Constitution Day.

By passing our first Constitution, we declared that Slovenia is based on the principles of a legal and social state and the respect for human rights instated by the Constitution – the foundation of freedom, righteousness, and peace within a country, which are exercised on the basis of the Constitution. The constitution also states that Slovenia is a democratic republic with a parliamentary form of government which is further divided into legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Brooding over the compliance of laws and other provisions with the Constitution is the Constitutional Court.

So far, the Constitution has been amended ten times
The creation of the Constitution goes back to the times of democratization and gaining of independence. The first stages of its formation date back to 1987. The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia is unique in the sense that Slovenians adopted it in 1991 in the form of an entirely new text, while other newly-emerging democracies insisted on amending the former institution for quite some time. We have been celebrating the Constitution Day since 1997.

There is still a significant gap between the Constitution and the actual state of affairs
However, the Constitution alone does not ensure the actual rule of law, as was envisioned in 1991 by its authors. For safety reasons, the Law on Constitutional Court is written in such a way that certain matters are never addressed at the Constitutional Court. In everyday life, however, human rights are violated on a daily basis by state bodies, local authorities, regular courts, and others who do not respect and exercise the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Slovenian Constitution. Real democracy is, therefore, merely an illusion. Without adherence to the fundamental constitutional principles it becomes merely a formal script without any real substantive value.

Miha Pirih