Frequently asked questions
1. Does the President read and answer the letters that citizens send him?
Yes, he does. The President of the Republic and his staff read and take into consideration all the letters from citizens that are delivered to the Office of the President of the Republic and also, where possible, provide answers. The only exceptions are: letters which are anonymous or in which the return details are missing, letters of an offensive nature, and letters whose contents do not demonstrate the need to be handled by the President of the Republic or his Office. The President receives large quantities of letters. It may, therefore, take some time before you receive a response.
2. Is it possible to make an appointment for a face-to-face meeting with the President?
Unfortunately, on account of his many time-consuming official duties, the President does not always have the opportunity to meet citizens in his Office. Instead, he participates frequently in events organised throughout Slovenia which enable him to enjoy direct contact with the citizens of the country. Consequently, if citizens wish to address opinions or questions to the President, it is better to do so by means of a letter.
3. Can the President of the Republic overturn a court judgement or influence judicial proceedings?
No. The President of the Republic may not overrule or otherwise influence a court judgement or judicial proceedings. The impartiality and independence of the judiciary are fundamental values of the rule of law as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. The impartiality and independence of the judiciary is based on the premise that no State authority may influence the work of the legal system or apply pressure or otherwise influence the ruling in a specific case before the court. Clearly, on occasion a judgement may be erroneous and fail to do justice to a party in the case. There is, however, proper provision in law, at every level, for appeals against the rulings of lower courts. Such legal redress is the only means by which a definitive court judgement may be modified. Court judgements or legal proceedings can, of course, be criticised from a professional standpoint. However, the reputation and standing of the judiciary as an institution should be respected. Only thus can citizens count on the rights and obligations stipulated in definitive court judgements being adhered to.
4. Can the President grant financial assistance to persons in distress?
Unfortunately, the President is unable to grant financial assistance to persons in distress. The President of the Republic and his Office are frequently informed of difficult situations in which individual citizens find themselves. However, the President’s Office has available to it only a limited amount of public funding under the national budget which may be used solely for the purposes stipulated in law and associated with fulfilling the duties of President of the Republic of Slovenia.
5. What action can the President take in the event of human rights violations?
The President of the Republic can inform other competent authorities, e.g. the Ombudswoman, of any relevant findings. He cannot, however, bring a human rights action before the competent court. If a considerable number of similar infringements of human rights and fundamental freedoms is identified, the President can speak about them in public and call upon the competent authorities to take appropriate action. Both in public and in his contacts with State authorities, the President of the Republic also advocates that errors in the operations of public authorities leading to infringements of human rights should be rectified.
6. Can a request for amnesty be submitted to the President of the Republic?
Pursuant to the ‘Pardon Act’ (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No 23/05 – official consolidated text), requests for amnesty may be filed with the court which passed the judgement in the first instance. Thereafter, subject to a prior procedure in accordance with the Act, the matter is decided by the President of the Republic. If a request for amnesty is submitted to a body other than the competent court, that body must send it forthwith to the competent court. Accordingly, the Office of the President of the Republic always refers such requests to the competent court. If it is not clear which is the competent court, the request is referred to the Ministry of Justice for forwarding to the appropriate address.
7. Can the President propose a law for adoption by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia
No. Under the Constitution, the President of the Republic cannot propose a law to the National Assembly nor can he adopt any regulations governing the life and work of the citizens of the Republic of Slovenia. In his public appearances, the President may use his moral authority and his authority as a statesman to point out certain errors or omissions when different acts are being adopted and in this way can assist the State authorities in adopting decisions.