PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA
According to the Constitution, the President represents the Republic of Slovenia and is the commander-in-chief of its armed forces. The President is elected in a direct, general and secret ballot based on universal and equal suffrage for a period of five years, and for a maximum of two consecutive terms. This means that anyone who has voting rights for elections to the National Assembly can vote for the President. In contrast to some other countries, Slovenia has no restricted passive voting rights, so no higher age is prescribed than for active voting rights.
Under the Constitution the President has the following powers:
- calling elections to the National Assembly;
- promulgating acts;
- appointing state officials where provided by law;
- appointing and recalling Slovenian ambassadors and envoys and accepting letters of credence from foreign diplomatic representatives;
- issuing charters of ratification;
- deciding on pardons;
- awarding decorations and honorific titles;
- performing other matters defined by the Constitution.
At the request of the National Assembly, the President must express an opinion on a specific matter. The President is also granted other powers regulated by specific acts, and these powers do not derive directly from the Constitution. These include deciding on the opening or closure of missions abroad (Foreign Affairs Act), proposing persons for election as the Human Rights Ombudsman, proposing to the National Assembly judges to sit on the Court of Audit (Court of Audit Act), proposing a judge for appointment to the European Court of Human Rights (Constitutional Court Act).
Under a Constitutional provision, serving as President is not compatible with performing any other public office or profession.
Candidates are proposed by National Assembly deputies, political parties and voters, with the conditions for the proposal of candidates being stricter than for elections to the National Assembly.
Only a candidate who on polling day has attained 18 years of age and whose capacity to contract has not been revoked may be elected President of the Republic of Slovenia. Elections are called by the President of the National Assembly, and must be held no later than 15 days prior to the expiry of the term of the outgoing President. If for anticipated legal reasons the term of office of the President is extended, elections must be held no later than 15 days prior to the expiry of the extended term of the outgoing President.
Elections may be called at the earliest 135 days and at the latest 75 days prior to the expiry of the five-year or extended term of the outgoing President. If the President’s mandate is terminated before the expiry of the term of office, elections must be called no later than 15 days after termination of the outgoing President’s mandate. Presidential elections are conducted and implemented by electoral bodies appointed under the National Assembly Elections Act.
Since presidential elections do not differ that much from elections to the National Assembly, with the exception of certain special features, the organisation and technicalities of the elections are governed by the National Assembly Elections Act, which is otherwise used in subsidiarity, in other words there is analagous application of the National Assembly Elections Act in matters where a main sectoral act does not cover a specific issue. In contrast to National Assembly elections, in this case the entire country is organised as a single constituency. As for voting, the same legal provisions apply as for elections to the National Assembly, but with the difference that voters may only vote for one candidate. The winning candidate is the one that receives the majority of votes cast on valid ballot papers, in other words the one that receives an absolute majority. If no candidate has received a majority, voting is repeated between the two candidates that received the highest number of votes.
The Constitution provides for the institution of impeachment of the President. If in performing his offices the President violates the Constitution or commits a serious breach of the law, the National Assembly may impeach the President in the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court determines the grounds for impeachment or acquits the accused, and may rule with a two-thirds majority of all judges on removal from office. Upon receiving a National Assembly decision on impeachment, the Constitutional Court may decide with a two-thirds majority of all judges that, until a ruling is made on the impeachment, the President should be temporarily barred from performing official duties (Article 109 of the Slovenian Constitution). This procedure is regulated in detail in the Constitutional Court Act.