STA, 7 February 2018 - The Administrative Court has turned down an appeal by Boris Popovič, the former mayor of Koper, who challenged his narrow loss against Aleš Bržan in the last local election. The court found some violations in the election but said Popovič had failed to submit sufficient evidence that they affected the outcome of the election.
"We will study the ruling in detail and then take any further decisions," Popovič's lawyer Franci Matoz told the STA today.
The court made the decision without the main hearing, although Popovič had proposed it.
The 28-page decision is based on evidence which had already been presented to the municipal election commission and the municipal council, the court said, adding that no "new facts or evidence" had been submitted in the appeal.
Popovič, who narrowly lost the mayoral race, lodged the appeal with the Administrative Court on 10 January to challenge the results of the 2 December run-off that he lost by just 17 votes out of almost 28,000 cast.
Formally, the appeal referred to the decision of the Koper city council that verified the result of what was arguably the biggest surprise of the local elections on 21 December last year.
In his appeal, Popovič alleged violations of the election blackout, irregularities in mail-in voting, and claimed that the municipal electoral commission had overstepped its powers. He demanded a recount.
The court cleared the electoral commission's decision regarding invalid ballots and added that a recount was not envisaged by law. It also found no irregularities in mail-in voting.
However, it agreed that a constitutional right of one voter had been violated - a disabled person who cast their ballot in the early voting - but said this did not affect the outcome of the election.
The court's decision is final. Popovič could still turn to the Constitutional Court but the former mayor told reporters on Wednesday he would respect the court's decision.
The new mayor, Bržan, told the press today he had expected such a decision and was looking forward to being able to finally start working without distractions.
"The team that had been on standby so far is ready, the municipal budget is also largely ready and it's time for us to start implementing our programme," Bržan said.